Finalist of the last World Cup, Croatia is no longer so sovereign, but has just qualified for the final four of the League of Nations. She still has with Luka Modric the master to play who can take her far in the competition.
The aftermath of the World Finals was not easy for the Croats. Beaten in 2018 in Russia by France, Luka Modric’s teammates seem to have had trouble digesting this defeat in the final after dreaming of the first world title for a country which will play in Qatar for its sixth World Cup.
A young nation, Croatia reached the semi-finals in 1998, with a defeat against France, the final in 2018. In 2002, 2006 and 2014, they were eliminated in the group stage. The retirement of Ivan Rakitic in 2020 left a void in the middle of the game, his duo with Modric was very oiled, the two stars of the selection found themselves with their eyes closed.
A less sovereign team without Rakitic
Croatia was eliminated in the round of 16 of the Euro, it was one of the disappointments of the competition and, during the World Cup qualifiers, it lost its first match in Slovakia (1-0) before returning the things in place, his game too and not to lose anymore. She did not lose against her most serious opponent, Russia, the Croats won a draw in Russia (1-1) before winning the last match (1-0) which was decisive since before this meeting the Russians were two points ahead.
The Croats avoided going through the roadblocks which can always be tricky. With the departure of Rakitic, other players have emerged, first and foremost the midfielder of Inter Marcelo Brozovic. He thrives in an attacking 4-3-3 system that can sometimes turn into 4-1-4-1.
In this system, the full-backs have a very offensive role. Croatia will present a good team, but they seem inferior to Brazil, Belgium or Germany. She arrives in Qatar with the same status as in 2018, no one expected her, we knew she had talented players, but who only showed this talent intermittently. Finally, she reached the final to everyone’s surprise, Brazil, Belgium, England had a higher rating than them at the time.
Luka Modric’s teammates will want to give him a great outing as it will definitely be his last World Cup. After being one of the best players of the 2018 World Cup, Luka Modric should delight football lovers with his deep passes and his outsides of the foot of which he has the secret. The last group match between Croatia and Belgium and the opposition Modric-De Bruyne will be worth the trip on December 1st. Two artists will be on the ground and they should amaze us.
November 23: Morocco Croatia at 11 a.m.
November 27: Croatia Canada at 5 p.m.
1er December: Croatia Belgium at 4 p.m.
How did Croatia qualify?
Croatia finished 1st in their group, but suffered. She played a final on the last match against Russia and won a vital victory that allowed her to go to Qatar. Despite this tough battle, she finished with the best attack (21 goals) and the best defense (4 goals) in the group.
Player to watch: Indestructible Modric
Talent has no bearing on the number of years. At 37, Luka Modric was one of the architects of Real’s Champions League victory and he is preparing to play his fourth World Cup after 2006, 2014 and 2018. This Champions League victory is, perhaps, to be, a happy omen for him since in 2018 he won his fourth Champions League before reaching the World Cup final.
In 2022, he won a fifth Champions League, it may bode well for the Croatian selection if history wants to repeat itself. The 2018 Ballon d’Or will be one of the stars of the World Cup, he still feels fit since he extended a season at Real.
The number: 135
Luka Modric broke a new record. The Croatian genius will arrive at the World Cup with his country’s selection record. During the qualifiers, he celebrated his 135th selection and broke Darijo Srna’s record in the match against Cyprus (1-0).
Croatia arrives in Qatar as in Russia in 2018 with an outsider status that is difficult to define because the Croats have been sluggish in recent months. They should have no problem qualifying for the Round of 16, but will struggle to go further.