FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Croatia reached the semi-finals at their maiden FIFA World Cup in 1998, recording victories over Romania and Germany, among others, en route to the last four, where they were defeated 2-1 by hosts and eventual champions France. They even managed to beat the Netherlands to the bronze medal, winning 2-1 in the Play-off for Third Place. However, Croatia have not been able to repeat such feats at subsequent tournaments, and failed to progress beyond the group stage at Korea/Japan 2002, Germany 2006 and Brazil 2014, while they did not even qualify for South Africa 2010.

The team
Croatia may not have enjoyed much success recently, but they are still capable of competing with the world’s biggest teams. The side has no shortage of creative talents led by captain Luka Modric and fellow playmaker Ivan Rakitic. Furthermore, national team coach Ante Cacic has several top-class players at his disposal in attack, including Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic.

The coach
Zlatko Dalic replaced Ante Cacic after their penultimate Group I match against Finland ended in a 1-1 draw. Dalic most recently coached UAE club Al-Ain, who he led to the AFC Champions League final last year.

The stat
7 – Croatia have an evenly balanced World Cup record, having won seven and lost seven of their 16 finals matches.

The former stars
Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Dario Simic, Niko Kovac, Robert Kovac