Croatia【Qatar World Cup:Full Explanation】

National Team

All 32 teams participating in the World Cup in Qatar are introduced.

This time, we will introduce Croatia Group F, which has been facing the problem of an aging regular lineup, but has made steady progress with a generational change, and has gained momentum by advancing to the last four in the Nations League in September.


Basic Information

Number of appearance6th(Third consecutive)
Highest AchievementRunner up
FIFA Ranking15th
Capital cityZagreb
Population4.07 million
ManagerZlatko Dalić
NicknameVatreni (The Blazers)

<Results of last 6 games>

11/17Friendly matchSaudi Arabia0-1A

A full year has passed since the EURO, where the team was eliminated in the round of 16 due to its heavy reliance on Modric, the first Croatian ballon d’or in history. Coach Dalic, who until then had favored the runners-up of the World Cup in Russia, used the civil war of Rebic and Vrsaljko as a turning point to change course. He promoted a generational change as required by the public, and in the World Cup and European qualifying rounds, the team won the crucial game against Russia to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

・The team’s next generation of players, such as Sosa and Majer, have emerged, and the team has succeeded in winning over immigrants such as Stanisic and Stić, and in the Nations League in June, national team debutants Erlic and Šutalo held Denmark and France scoreless in their debut together. The defensive line, which had been a cause for concern, is becoming a story of the past.

Modric’s repeated appeal to the young players to believe in themselves and to understand that they can become stronger has been well received by the team. Modric’s “Appeal” which he repeats over and over again, has spread to the young players as well. Although there is no one like Mandžukić, the runner-up at the World Cup in Russia, he has been appointed as the new coach. The team is in great form, having beaten the best of France and Denmark in the Nations League to advance to the last four, and should be able to create a stir again in Qatar.

<Group Stage Schedule 【Group F】>
Date of a matchLocal game start timeOpponentTotal match record
Section 1November 2313:00Morocco
0 wins,1 draw, 0 losses
Section 2November 2719:00Canada
Section 3December 118:00Belgium
3 wins,2 draw, 3 losses


(Name)Zlatko Dalić
(Date of birth)October 26, 1966(56)
Oct. 2017

・Although he lacks tactical acumen and charisma, he has been able to unite the team through patriotism and people skills, leading them to the World Cup finals and a top-four Nations League finish in recent years.

・He is an interactive director with a coaching staff of legends and listens to the opinions of veterans such as Modric, the captain of the team.

They are stubborn to hostile fans and media, which also causes them to go back and delay generational change.

・His special move is “backhandedness.

Prior to his appointment as national team coach, he held a number of commanding positions with Middle Eastern clubs, leading Al Ain to a 2016 Asian Champions League runner-up finish.

Basic Formations & Tactics

Golden midfield and next generation of defenders take the initiative and make another great leap forward in Qatar.

<Basic Formations>

As in Russia, where they finished runner-up, Croatia’s midfield, with Modric and Brozovic still alive and well, was world class, and no worries: at EURO 2020, Croatia was basically “Tactical Modric” relying on the ballon d’Or from the build-up to the finish of attacks.

・While his contemporaries are retiring from the national team one after another, Modric, whose maturity has increased with age, is now a “Superman” but he will be 37 years old when the World Cup in Qatar begins. But he will be 37 years old when the World Cup in Qatar begins, and the most urgent task is to ease his burden.

・The Qatar World Cup will likely be Modric’s last big tournament. He will be taking on the challenge with all his heart and soul in order to leave his younger teammates with no regrets.

<At Attack>

・The team’s greatest strength is the quality of its midfield. With the evolution of Brozovic and the growth of Kovacic, the midfield triangle formed with Modric is arguably the best in the world.The two teams are similar in their ability to strip the opposing press and manipulate long and short passes, but the maturity of the combination has decentralized Modric’s task. The team also makes frequent position changes while utilizing the individuality of each player.

・The FWs remain a source of concern. Perisic is the obvious choice on the left wing, while the right winger, for whom there was no suitable replacement at EURO, can be found in the place of the prodigious Majer and the physical Pasalic.

・That leaves CF, where the use of Budimir and Kramaric failed to produce results after livaja and Musa were sidelined by corona infections in the June game. Determination of the last piece will continue to be a trial and error process until just before the opening of the season.

<At Defense>

・The generational change is most advanced in the final line. In place of Lovren and Vida, who are fading rapidly, Gvardiol, who has shown remarkable growth, has been placed at the center of the CB line. The fearless 20-year-old makes one high-precision vertical pass after another with his left foot and leaps forward whenever he sees a chance.

・While Ćaleta-Car and Pongracic faltered, Erlic and Sutalo made their debuts in the Nation League in June. Both were not bothered by the buildup and were the initiators of several counters against France.

・Both SBs also have excellent passing pieces like Juranovic, Sosa, and Stanisic, and can be used as fast or slow attackers depending on the spoon of “Coach Modric” on the pitch.

Star players(Top 7)

Luka Modrić (MF/Real Madrid)

・”Croatian Hero”

“A superhuman mitfielder” who has never waned. As a member of the Galaxy squad, he has helped win numerous titles, including three consecutive Champions League titles, and in 2018, when he finished runner-up in the World Cup, he also won the Ballon d’Or, beating out Messi and Ronaldo.

・With the exception of speed, he is one of the best commanders in the world, possessing all the skills required of a soccer player, including technique, passing, dribbling, soccer IQ, and athleticism at a high level. As a guide in the build-up, he distributes passes with precision, and his excellent off-the-ball movement allows him to run wide and finish.

・He has never lost his offensive and defensive presence even in the final stages of the game, saving the team’s asses with his mid-shots and outside passes.

・At the age of 36, he continues to be a key member of the Madrid team and helped them win La Liga and CL titles last season. With his strong leadership as captain, he leads the team not only in his play but also in his behavior on and off the pitch. He shows no sign of giving up his position to younger players. I think he will never retire.

Marcelo Brozović (MF/Internazionale Milano)

・”Croatian Ironman”

“The Resistor” was named Serie A’s best midfielder for the second consecutive season. He is a “resistor”, the most successful midfielder in the Serie A. He is able to use both feet with equal ease to create attacks from the bottom of the midfield with his highly successful long and short passes. He is also a great player who sometimes puts a powerful mid-range shot into the net from long range.

・He has inexhaustible stamina and covers large areas throughout the 90 minutes. As a risk manager, he compensates for his speed with precise positioning, and his ability to win the ball with skillful sliding and tucks is masterful. Even when surrounded by opponents, he avoids them with brilliant ball control and is seldom robbed.

Ivan Perišić (FW/Tottenham)

・”Cutting edge on the left side”

・At 33 years of age, he is still a side attacker with no signs of slowing down. He is a player of great athleticism, constantly going up and down the left side of the field. He is a quick and agile dribbler who can break through one-on-one situations, and he is also a decisive player with his accurate crosses from both feet.

He has also shown his true value on the big stage, scoring goals in the semi-finals and final of the World Cup in Russia. His hard work in both offense and defense is also attractive.

Mateo Kovačić (MF/Chelsea)

・”Modric’s successor”

・He is a “Press breaker” who can dribble vertically without difficulty even when surrounded by multiple players in the midfield. He has a high level of basic skills and the ability to develop and create chances. He uses his outstanding propulsive power to break out of situations with his individual skills, and his through passes that lead directly to goals are a threat in themselves.

・A hard worker with a strong defensive mindset, he aggressively crushes his opponents with his sprinting ability and bold defending that lasts throughout the 90 minutes. Once he collects the ball, he immediately switches to attack and is active in both offense and defense.

Mario Pašalić (MF/Atalanta)

”Modern Worker”

・He is an attacking multirole who appears in front of the goal with a divine presence and scores muddy goals. As a shadow striker, he adds quality to the breakdown in the second row and approaches the goal with a unique style of play.

・He can also play as a volante, and after building a simple pass in the midfield, he can enter the front line at the right moment to shoot. He also has a strong heading shot.

Borna Sosa (DF/Stuttgart)

・”Left-handed Beckham”

・One of the Bundesliga’s best left-backs, he is especially impressive with his high crosses, using both an in-front and in-step approach to hit the ball on course. His dynamic dribbling allows him to break down the left flank, and his refined left foot allows him to set up headers for the frontrunners.

・He also contributes well in the build-up, timing his passes back and forth between the outside lane and half-space, and handling the ball with precision.

Joško Gvardiol (DF/RB Leipzig)

・”Croatia’s Greatest”

・A versatile CB who has the ability required of a modern defender at a high level at the age of 20 and is being watched with great enthusiasm by mega clubs, he covers a wide area with his explosiveness and good decision making, and is also great against the opposition with his skillful tackling.

・He made his breakthrough last season with Leipzig. He made 47 successful tackles, the second most on the team, and 51 interceptions, the first on the team, as he adapted to the Bundesliga at the young age of 20. There is no doubt that he is Croatia’s next generation of defensive leaders.

・He is also an attacker, and although he is a lefty, his build-up is long and short and of high quality, using his right foot with great dexterity.

Players List

NameAgeClub teamRepresentative Results (Goals)
Dominik Livaković27Dinamo Zagreb31 caps・A defender with outstanding reaction speed, he combines calmness and fighting spirit.
Ivica Ivusic27Osijek5 caps・Zero defeat of France in Nations League
Ivo Grbić26Atletico Madrid2 caps・High-ball handling is an absolute strength, taking advantage of his huge frame.
・Stalled last season in Lille, where he trained as a warrior.
Duje Ćaleta-Car26Southampton23 caps(1)・He boasts confidence in his aerial game, using his height to anticipate his opponent’s play and nip it in the bud.
・Long feeds can also be used as a starting point for attacks.
Josko Gvardiol20RB Leipzig10 caps(1)・Seals Chelsea transfer rumors, extends contract to 27 years
Josip Juranović27Celtic20 caps・A hard worker who rose from an amateur player to a regular member of the A national team.
Borna Sosa24Stuttgart6 caps・Last season, he was first on his team in assists with 8.
Martin Erlić24Sassuolo3 caps・Contributed to remaining as the main axis of Spezia last season
・A strong CB who can nip a pinch in the bud with his aerial prowess and precise positioning.
Josip Šutalo22Dinamo Zagreb2 caps・CB with strong interpersonal skills and excellent deployment skills
・June debut for the national team showcased his abilities.
Dejan Lovren33Zenit70 caps(4)・In September, he scored the third goal in a no-holds-barred match against Austria.
Domagoj Vida33AEK Athens98 caps(4)・Veteran CB who is willing to bench
Šime Vrsaljko30Olympiacos52 caps・Moved to Atletico, kicking off a contract extension offer from Atletico.
Borna Barišić30Rangers26 caps(1)・High-precision crosses are attractive
・Father is a big time mobster.
Marin Pongračić25Lecce5 caps・A physically gifted and insightful CB
Josip Stanišić22Bayern München5 caps・SB who can play both sides of the ball with skillful ball control on both feet.
Luka Modrić37Real Madrid152 caps(22)・Thrusting up young people is also an anti-aging nutrient.
Mateo Kovačić28Chelsea81 caps(3)・Criticized for few goals and assists
Marcelo Brozović30Internazionale Milano74 caps(7)・Best Serie A midfielder last season
Mario Pašalić27Atalanta40 caps(7)・Scored 13 goals last season
Lovro Majer24Stade Rennais8 caps(2)・Modric II
・He moved to Rennes last summer, and in his first year in Ligue 1, he played 29 games, scoring 6 goals and assisting 8. He has also established himself in the Croatian national team
・Voted one of the best 11 in Ligue-Anne.
Nikola Vlašić25Torino39 caps(7)・Despite a poor showing at West Ham, he boasts the offensive prowess of two consecutive seasons of double-digit goals during his time at CSKA Moscow.
Luka Sucic20Salzburg3 caps・A big lefty who creates chances with his high ball keeping ability and decisive through passes.
・Elegance like Modric’s, which I admire.
Kristijan Jakić25Frankfurt4 caps・Martial hunter who does not allow penetration into vital areas
Luka Ivanusec23Dinamo Zagreb11 caps(1)・Dribbler who dribbles with a fine touch into areas in tight spaces
Ivan Perišić33Tottenham113 caps(32)・Invited by his former teacher, Conte, to make his first attempt at premiering.
Andrej Kramarić31Hoffenheim71 caps(19)・Hoffenheim’s absolute ace.
・Triple-threat striker who shoots, passes, and dribbles
Ante Budimir31Osasuna14 caps(1)・A huge FW who is physically strong and aims to shoot from any position
・Highly dedicated without neglecting the press.
Josip Brekalo24VfL Wolfsburg33 caps(4)・Attacker who uses speed and skillful turns and combination play to get to the goal.
・High defensive intensity, including press
Mislav Oršić29Dinamo Zagreb19 caps(1)・Winger sinks opponents with a powerful right-foot shot from a cut-in on the left side.
Marko Livaja29Hajduk Split13 caps(2)・Bad boy striker revered like a god at the club
Petar Musa24Benfica0・He uses his height of 190 cm to be a starting point for the team and has twice scored in double figures in a season in the Czech League.
Bruno Petković28Dinamo Zagreb22 caps (6)・Giant FW who has delicate technique with dynamic finishing work
・Can be used even under the top, and has high assist ability

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