Croatia boast of some of the finest midfielders in world football but can they impress in Russia?
Croatia are making their fifth appearance at the FIFA World Cup but they are yet to hit height they reach in their debut at France 1998.
The Davor Suker-led Croatia surprised the rest of the world by going as far as the Semi-final before they were knocked out by the host and eventual winners – France.
They went on to beat Holland in the losers final (third place match) by 2-1 to finish the tournament as the third-best team.
Captain: Luka Modric
Manager: Zlatko Dalic
Nickname: Vatreni (The Blazers)
FIFA World Cup history (5 appearances)
Croatia Vs Nigeria
Croatia Vs Argentina
Croatia Vs Iceland
1. Luka Modric
Real Madrid’s midfield maestro is the most successful of Croatia’s so-called “extraordinary generation”, driving his European club side with two Champions League trophies since he left Tottenham. He’s 32.
Modric will come to Russia alongside a host of players including Inter Milan’s Perisic who have a final shot at putting up a strong challenge at the World Cup.
Croatia has a torrid qualifying campaign, losing their manager in the process. Modric didn’t perform all too well in qualifying but in Russia, the stakes will be much higher.
2. Ivan Rakiti?
Partnering Modric in midfield will be Ivan Rakiti?, a pair difficult to match from the 32 teams competing in Russia.
Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo)
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg)
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka)
Strikers: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter), Nikola Kalinic (Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht)