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Can Croatia do better in the 2022 World Cup?

The Adriatic nation hopes to overcome the final defeat of 2018 as a handful of stars prepare for a possible final tournament.

Previous World Cup appearances: Five
Titles: 0
better finish: Runners-up (2018)
World Cup record: A11 P4 L8
World Cup goals: 35
biggest win: 4-0 vs. Cameroon (2014)
player to watch: Luka modric
Classification: 12
Group stage matches: Morocco (November 23), Canada (November 27), Belgium (December 1).

Small but mighty Croatia hope to continue their remarkable journey to the final four years ago and make inroads again at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

This year’s tournament is likely to mark one last meeting in football’s most prestigious trophy for a number of key players, with the Adriatic nation expected to advance to at least the start of the knockout stage.

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Previous World Cup appearances

Croatia has competed in five World Cups since the country declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, beginning with the 1998 tournament in France. They have appeared in every tournament since then except for the 2010 edition, held in South Africa, where they failed to qualify.

In 2018, the team fought its way to a first World Cup before losing to France.

Along the way, they took maximum points from the group stage with wins over Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland. That was followed by knockout wins against Denmark and Russia on penalties, before beating England in a hard-fought semi-final victory secured in extra time.

Their run to runners-up represented the best performance in the country’s history, beating a semi-final appearance in 1998 that saw them again defeated by France.

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Results in the last 10 games

Croatia enter the tournament in excellent form, having recently topped their UEFA Nations League group, which includes France, Denmark and Austria, following a confidence-boosting winning streak against all three teams in European competition.

key player

Luka Modric will once again be central to Croatia’s hopes of success.

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The 37-year-old playmaker continues to pull the strings for his team, captaining the team and designing their attacking play from midfield.

His creativity threatens to pose problems for even the best-organized teams and he will be essential for a team known more for its midfield and defensive resources than its forward talent.

His influence at the 2018 World Cup was huge. He scored two goals and recorded one assist in a flurry of high-profile performances that saw him recognized as the tournament’s best player with the Ballon d’Or award.

A much-admired footballer, Modric later that year received the prestigious Ballon d’Or, the highest individual accolade in the sport, and also won a string of trophies at club level with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Summary

Croatia are expected to qualify relatively easily from Group F, along with Belgium.

According to the latest FIFA rankings, the team is the 12th best in the world and its exciting mix of seasoned stars, including Modric, winger Ivan Perisic and midfielder Mateo Kovacic, and young prospects is anticipated to prove too strong for Canada and Morocco. .

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Croatia, a football-loving country of four million people where the sport has even been linked to the birth of the nation itself, has a history of staggering expectations and forging ahead against more illustrious rivals.

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If the team can fight its way through the round of 16, it will gather the momentum for an unlikely, but certainly not impossible, run at a first World Cup title.

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