Fantasy Football Hub
·11 November 2022
Fantasy Football Hub
·11 November 2022
In this World Cup Fantasy 2022 article, we preview Croatia and their World Cup 2022 hopes - from their route to qualification, form since and best fantasy players.
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Manager: Zlatko Dalic
World ranking: 12th
World Cup 2018 performance: Runners-up
Best World Cup performance: Runners-up (2018)
World Cup group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco and Croatia. Graphic source: Google
Croatia' group-stage fixtures are as follows - all times in GMT:
Top scorer: Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric and Maria Pasalic - 3
Most assists: Andrej Kramaric - 3
Croatia were among the pot-one seeds in the draw for the UEFA European World Cup qualifying.
Their group included Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta - all of which they overcame to finish top by a slim margin.
Russia were their main competitors and Croatia fell behind them on day one, losing 1-0 to Slovenia while Russia romped to a 3-1 victory.
Mario Pasalic scored the only goal of Croatia's second game against Cyprus, and they followed it with a 3-0 victory over Malta.
Here, veterans Ivan Perisic and Luka Modric were on target alongside Josip Brekalo. Modric's goal came via the penalty spot.
The Vatreni then travelled to Russia in a key match, which was drawn 0-0.
Marcelo Brozovic gave Croatia a 1-0 win over Slovakia in matchday 5, and another 3-0 win gave them back-to-back wins. Perisic scored his second of qualifying and young defender Josko Gvardiol and Marko Livaja completed the treble.
Andrej Kramaric and Modric scored for Croatia in their home match against Slovakia, however the team conceded twice to miss out on all three points.
There were no such issues in the next game though, as Malta were put to the sword 7-1. Attacking midfielder Lovro Majer scored a brace, with goals from Perisic, Modric, Kramaric, Pasalic and Duje Caleta-Car.
Croatia faced Russia in the final game of qualifying to decide who would take the top spot and automatic qualification for Qatar.
Russia had the upper hand, with 22 points to Croatia's 20.
But Croatia stole a narrow home victory, thanks to an 81st minute own-goal.
The playoffs therefore beckoned for Russia, although they were eventually ejected in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
Croatia completed their qualifying campaign in November 2021.
They began 2022 with two international friendlies, a 1-1 draw with Slovenia (Kramaric) and a 2-1 win over Bulgaria (Kramaric, Modric pen).
June brought four UEFA Nations League games, and the campaign got off to a slow start as they were defeated 3-0 by Austria.
With Modric off the pitch, Kramaric scored a penalty in a 1-1 draw with France.
A four-game winning streak - stretching from mid-June to September - against some tough opponents followed.
A Pasalic goal saw off Denmark in their own backyard, while another 1-0 away victory - against France - was a further good sign ahead of Qatar.
A Modric penalty was the difference between the 2018 World Cup finalists.
September saw victories against Denmark and Austria. See our World Cup form guide for full details.
Croatia have slotted in a friendly against Saudi Arabia on November 16. See our form guide above for more information.
Croatia announced their squad on November 9 and it was as follows:
GK: Domink Livakovic, Ivica Ivusic, Ivo Grbic
DEF: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barisic, Josip Juranovic, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanisic, Martin Erlic, Josip Sutalo
MID: Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic, Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakic, Luka Sucic
FOR: Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja
Our predicted lineup for Croatia is as below.
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