Profile of World Cup finalists Croatia


Croatia beat England to ebook their place within the World Cup last in Moscow on Sunday.

Right here, FP profiles the aspect who will meet France on the Luzhniki Stadium.

Davor Suker, right, won the World Cup golden boot in 1998 (PA)
Davor Suker, proper, gained the World Cup golden boot in 1998 (PA)

After becoming a member of FIFA in 1992 after which UEFA in 1993 following the break up of Yugoslavia, Croatia made an immediate influence at their first World Cup finals once they reached the 1998 semi-finals. They beat Germany Three-Zero within the final eight however have been then crushed by hosts and eventual winners France regardless of taking the lead. Since then, the Croats have exited on the group stage in 2002, 2006 and 2014 and didn’t qualify in 2010.

Slaven Bilic played for and later managed West Ham (Adam Davy/PA)
Slaven Bilic performed for and later managed West Ham (Adam Davy/PA)

Ex-Actual Madrid ahead Davor Suker, the present president of the nation’s soccer federation, was the golden boot winner in 1998 with six objectives for a workforce that additionally featured AC Milan midfielder Zvonimir Boban, in addition to defenders Igor Stimac and Slaven Bilic – each of whom performed in England.  Brothers Niko Kovac and Robert Kovac performed collectively at Bayern Munich, the place the previous has simply been appointed supervisor, whereas Robert Prosinecki is without doubt one of the few to have performed for each Actual Madrid and Barcelona.

Croatia’s power clearly lies within the central-midfield division that features Actual’s Luka Modric and Barca’s Ivan Rakitic. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic is a continuing menace down the left wing and Ante Rebic is having fun with a nice match on the other flank, whereas solely Suker has scored extra objectives for his nation than Juventus entrance man Mario Mandzukic. Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren has continued the great kind he confirmed in the direction of the tip of final season too.

Like England’s Gareth Southgate, Croatian boss Zlatko Dalic didn’t didn’t start the World Cup qualifying marketing campaign in command of the nation. In reality, when Ante Cacic was sacked in October, Dalic was appointed simply two days earlier than the ultimate group recreation in Ukraine, which Croatia gained to get a play-off spot. The 51-year-old had spent the earlier three years managing Abu Dhabi-based workforce Al-Ain.

Dalic’s aspect breezed via a bunch that includes Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland and have been one among simply three nations – together with Uruguay and Belgium – to win all three video games. They wanted a penalty shoot-out to see off Denmark within the final 16, although, after Modric had missed from the spot in further time. Croatia booked their semi-final place in opposition to England thanks to a different penalty shoot-out success, this time in opposition to hosts Russia after the edges have been degree at 2-2 following extra-time. Southgate’s males have been then crushed within the semi-final on the Luzhniki – Croatia operating out 2-1 winners after the groups have been degree at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Croatia has develop into a well-liked vacation vacation spot, significantly the resort of Dubrovnik, the place fashionable tv sequence Sport of Thrones movies its King’s Touchdown scenes. Croatia’s inhabitants is simply over 4 million and, of the 32 international locations on the 2018 World Cup, solely Panama, Uruguay and Iceland are dwelling to fewer individuals.

Goran Ivanisevic won the men's singles at Wimbledon in 2001 (Tom Hevezi/PA)
Goran Ivanisevic gained the boys’s singles at Wimbledon in 2001 (Tom Hevezi/PA)

Croatian Goran Ivanisevic owns one of the unlikely sports activities tales of latest years after he gained Wimbledon in 2001 regardless of being a wildcard entry. Within the semi-final, with the assistance of some well timed rain, he got here from two units to 1 right down to beat Briton Tim Henman. Outdoors of sport, dalmatian canines are thought to have originated from the Croatian area of Dalmatia.

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