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Croatia have struggled to reach the levels set at the World Cup in 2018 when finishing runners-up to France in recent times and currently find themselves 10th in the betting to win this tournament.
Croatia – London, Sun, June 13, 2pm
Czech Republic – Glasgow, Fri, June 18, 5pm
Scotland – Glasgow, Tue, June 22, 8pm
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Croatia started the campaign ranked fourth in the world, but they struggled in their away games – losing to Hungary (ranked 52nd) and drawing with Azerbaijan (ranked 109th) and Wales (ranked 19th). However, they won all their other games to secure top spot in the group.
Zlatko Dalic was journeyman in the Croatian Leagues, but he found success in the Middle East with Al-Hilal and Al-Ain. He took over Croatia in October 2017. After that great run to the final in Russia they performed poorly in the first two Nations League tournaments.
Much of the squad that started the World Cup final will be back again, but a new crop of talent means that nobody’s position is secure. Croatia have a wealth of talent in midfield with Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric and Mario Pasalic and they have the likes of Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic options out wide. Andrej Kramaric has not featured consistently due to injury, but they lack any other strong options up top.
Luka Modric – The Balon D’Or winner is still pulling all the strings for Real Madrid at the age of 36. He’s almost unrivalled in international and top-level club experience, and remains his country’s figurehead.
ONE TO WATCH
While Nikola Vlasic has been around a while, he’s only now starting to live up to his potential. He debuted for Hajduk Split at just 16 and went on to make 33 appearances that season. He flopped at Everton, but the No.10 has found his feet at CSKA Moscow, scoring and assisted more than any of his teammates for the second year running.
Here’s all the key data on Croatia’s squad.
- Squads and statistics correct at time of data sheet creation.
If they finish as runners-up in Group D behind England, Croatia will face the runner-up in Group E (Spain, Sweden, Poland or Slovakia) which would be a very winnable tie. However, their likely opponents after that will be the winners of Group F (France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary), and that’ll probably prove a step too far.
Back Kramaric in the goalscorer markets. He’s a penalty specialist at Hoffenhiem, and it’s yet to be seen if he’ll take penalties for Croatia. If he does, he’ll be value in all the goalscorer markets.
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