Croatia national football team

Last updated

Croatia
Nickname(s) Vatreni (The Blazers)
Kockasti (The Chequered Ones)
Association Croatian Football Federation (HNS)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Zlatko Dalić
Captain Luka Modrić
Most caps Darijo Srna (134)
Top scorer Davor Šuker (45)
Home stadium See below
FIFA code CRO
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First colours
Kit left arm cro18A.png
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Kit body cro18A.png
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Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 6 Steady2.svg(11 June 2020) [1]
Highest3 (January 1999)
Lowest125 (March 1994)
Elo ranking
Current 13 Increase2.svg 2 (2 April 2020) [2]
Highest5 (July 1998, July 2018)
Lowest26 (October 2002)
First international
unofficial
Flag of Banate of Croatia (1939-1941).svg  Croatia 4–0 Switzerland   Flag of Switzerland.svg
(Zagreb, Yugoslavia; 2 April 1940)
official
Flag of Slovakia (1939-1945).svg  Slovakia 1–1 Croatia  Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg
(Bratislava, Slovakia; 8 September 1941)
as modern Croatia
unofficial
Flag of Croatia (1990).svg  Croatia 2–1 United States  Flag of the United States.svg
(Zagreb, Yugoslavia; 17 October 1990)
official
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 1–0 Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svg
(Melbourne, Australia; 5 July 1992)
Biggest win
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 10–0 San Marino  Flag of San Marino.svg
(Rijeka, Croatia; 4 June 2016)
Biggest defeat
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 6–0 Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svg
(Elche, Spain; 11 September 2018)
World Cup
Appearances5 (first in 1998 )
Best resultRunners-up (2018)
European Championship
Appearances6 (first in 1996 )
Best resultQuarter-finals (1996, 2008)
Website hns-cff.hr/en

The Croatia national football team (Croatian : Hrvatska nogometna reprezentacija) represents Croatia in men's international football matches. The team is controlled by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), the governing body for football in Croatia. Football is widely supported throughout the country due to the ever-present popularity of the sport. Most home matches are played at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, although other smaller venues are also used occasionally. They are one of the youngest national teams (since formation) to reach the knockout stage of a major tournament, as well as the youngest team to occupy the top 10 in the FIFA World Rankings.

Contents

Croatia has represented itself as an independent nation since 1993, when the team was officially recognised by both FIFA and UEFA following dissolution of Yugoslavia. However, short-lived national sides were briefly active during periods of political upheaval, representing sovereign states such as the Banovina of Croatia from 1939 to 1941, or the Independent State of Croatia from 1941 to 1944. Before the current team was formed, most Croatian players represented Yugoslavia instead. The modern-day team has played competitive matches since 1994, starting with a successful qualifying campaign for the 1996 European Championship. In 1998, they competed in their first FIFA World Cup, finishing 3rd and providing the tournament's top scorer, Davor Šuker. Exactly twenty years later, under their second golden generation, Croatia reached the 2018 World Cup Final, securing second place after losing to France. Captain Luka Modrić was awarded best player of the tournament for his performances, thus making him the first ever Croatian player to win the award.

Among other nicknames, the team is colloquially referred to as the Vatreni (Blazers) or the Kockasti (The Chequered Ones). In the Italian-speaking counties the team is known as Il furioso incendio (The Blazing Fire). Since becoming eligible to compete, Croatia has only failed to qualify for two major tournaments; the 2000 European Championship and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Their biggest defeat came in 2018 with a 6–0 loss to Spain, while their highest-scoring victory was a 10–0 friendly win over San Marino in 2016. The national team is also known for some long-standing rivalries, such as the Derby Adriatico with Italy, or the politically-charged rivalry with Serbia, both of which have led to controversial or disruptive matches.

The team represents the second-smallest country by population and land mass to reach the World Cup final, behind Uruguay and Netherlands respectively. At major tournaments, Croatia holds joint-records for longest period between one goal and another of a player (2002–2014), most penalty shootouts played (2), most extra time periods played (3) and most penalties saved in a match (3). They are also one of only two teams—along with Colombia—to be named FIFA's "Best Mover of the Year" more than once, winning the award in 1994 and 1998. [3] [4] Upon admission to FIFA, Croatia was ranked 125th in the world; following the 1998 World Cup campaign, the side rose to third place in the rankings, making it the most volatile team in FIFA Rankings history.

History

Pre-independence

Association football was first introduced to Croatia by English expatriates working on industrial projects in Rijeka and Županja in 1873. By 1907, local clubs had been established in Croatia and a modern edition of the sport's laws was translated and published. [5] Before the nation's independence, Croatian footballers played for the national teams of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1919–39) and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1945–92), though during periods of political upheaval, ethnically Croatian sides occasionally formed to play unofficial matches. [6] A hastily arranged Croatian side, managed by Hugo Kinert, played a few matches in 1918–19. [7] [8]

In 1940, Jozo Jakopić led an unofficial national team representing the Banovina of Croatia (part of Kingdom of Yugoslavia) in four friendly matches, against Switzerland and Hungary. [9] Following invasion by the Axis powers, the Croatian Football Federation became briefly active, joining FIFA on 17 July 1941, representing the Independent State of Croatia. The side, led by Rudolf Hitrec, went on to play 15 friendly matches, 14 of those as a member of FIFA. [10] [11] Croatia's first recorded result as a FIFA member was a 1–1 draw with Slovakia on 8 September in Bratislava. [9] The Independent State of Croatia continued playing matches until 1945 and the end of World War II, when SR Croatia was formed as constituent part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. [11] From 1950 to 1956, unofficial Croatian teams were briefly active once again—winning games against Indonesia and a Yugoslav team playing as "Serbia". [8] The Yugoslavia squad at the 1956 Summer Olympics included Croatian footballers, [12] as did Yugoslavia in World Cup and European Championship tournaments up to 1990. [13] [14]

Official formation

The last Yugoslav team to field a considerable Croatian contingent played against Faroe Islands on 16 May 1991, days before Croatia's independence referendum. [15] However, an unofficial Croatian team was formed shortly before, and played the team's first modern international game, against the United States on 17 October 1990 at Maksimir Stadium. The game, which Croatia won 2–1, [16] was one of three games played under caretaker manager Dražan Jerković. The match against the American side also marked the introduction of Croatia's national jersey, inspired by the chequered design of the country's coat of arms. [17] Although Croatia was still officially part of Yugoslavia until its independence declaration on 8 October 1991, this team already served as a de facto national side. [18] [19] Croatia went on to win two more friendly games under Jerković, against Romania in December 1990 and Slovenia in June 1991.

On 3 July 1992, Croatia was re-admitted to FIFA, playing its first official matches in the modern era against Australia in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. This team was led by Stanko Poklepović as part of an international exhibition tour; in April 1993, Vlatko Marković was appointed as manager. Croatia finally gained admission into UEFA in June 1993, which was too late for the national team to enter the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, as these already commenced the year before. Marković only led the team in one match, a home win against Ukraine in June 1993, before being dismissed in February 1994 and replaced by Miroslav Blažević the following month. The team's performances before Croatia's official independence were not recorded by FIFA, so they entered the World Rankings in 125th place. [20] [21] Blažević led Croatia's qualifying campaign for Euro 1996, beginning with the nation's first post-independence competitive victory, a 2–0 win over Estonia on 4 September 1994. Their first competitive defeat came on 11 June 1995 in a 1–0 away loss to Ukraine during the same qualifying campaign. [9] They eventually finished first in their qualifying group [22] and won FIFA's 1994 Best Mover of the Year award as they moved up to 62nd in the rankings by the end of the year. [23]

Blažević period and the "golden generation" (1994–1999)

The 1998 Third Place Certificate for Croatia. The 1998 Third Place Certificate for Croatia.jpg
The 1998 Third Place Certificate for Croatia.

Goran Vlaović scored the team's first goal at a major tournament, a late winner against Turkey at the City Ground in Nottingham in their first group match at Euro 96. [24] After their opening victory, Croatia beat reigning champions Denmark 3–0, [25] but went on to lose against Portugal by the same scoreline in their final group fixture. [26] Croatia still advanced to the knockout stage, but were beaten in the quarter-finals 1–2 by Germany, who went on to win the tournament. [27]

In spite of the quarter-final exit, Blažević continued to lead Croatia in the 1998 World Cup qualifying campaign, which ended successfully after an aggregate victory against Ukraine in the two-legged play-off. In the group stage of the World Cup, Croatia beat Jamaica and Japan but lost to Argentina, before defeating Romania to reach a quarter-final tie against Germany, then ranked second in the world. [28] Croatia won 3–0 with goals from Robert Jarni, Goran Vlaović and Davor Šuker, all after Christian Wörns had been sent off. Croatia then faced the host nation, France, in the semi-final. After a goalless first-half, Croatia took the lead, only to concede two goals by opposing defender Lilian Thuram and lose 1–2. In the third-place match, Croatia beat the Netherlands 2–1, with Davor Šuker winning the Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals of the tournament with six goals in seven games. [29] Croatia's performance in 1998 was among the best debut performances in the World Cup (equaling Portugal's third place debut finish at the 1966 World Cup), and as a result, Croatia rose to number three in the January 1999 FIFA World Rankings, their highest ranking to date. [21] [13] For their achievements, the team of the 1990s was dubbed the "Golden Generation." [30] [31] A considerable portion of this squad (Jarni, Štimac, Boban, Prosinečki and Šuker), previously won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship with the Yugoslavia under-20 team.

Despite good performances in their first two major competitions, Croatia's qualifying campaign for Euro 2000 was less successful, as they finished third in their qualifying group behind Yugoslavia and Republic of Ireland, and thus failed to qualify. [32] Both fixtures against archrivals Yugoslavia (the rump state which was later renamed Serbia and Montenegro) ended in draws, which prevented Croatia from qualifying for the tournament. [33]

Barić, Kranjčar, and Bilić periods (2000–2012)

Croatian football fans during the Euro 2004 in Portugal CroaciavsSuica2004.JPG
Croatian football fans during the Euro 2004 in Portugal

Although Blažević continued his tenure in spite of failure to qualify for Euro 2000, he resigned in October 2000 following draws against Belgium and Scotland in the first two games of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. His successor at the helm of the national team was Mirko Jozić, who previously led the Yugoslavia under-20 team to a World Cup triumph in 1987. Despite the retirement of many Golden Generation players, Croatia went unbeaten during the rest of the qualifiers. They opened their 2002 World Cup campaign with a narrow loss to Mexico before producing a surprise 2–1 victory over Euro 2000 finalists Italy in the next fixture, giving life to hopes of passing through to the knockout stage. [34] [35] However, they lost their final group fixture to Ecuador and were eliminated. [36] Jozić then resigned, and was replaced in July 2002 by Croatian-Austrian Otto Barić, the team's first manager born outside the Balkans. [37] [38]

The 2002 Croatia's home jersey. The 2002 Croatia's football home jersey.jpg
The 2002 Croatia's home jersey.

During Barić's tenure, most of the remaining players from the Golden Generation squad were gradually replaced by younger players over the course of the Euro 2004 qualifiers. Croatia went on to qualify for the tournament with a playoff victory against Slovenia, winning 2–1 on aggregate after Dado Pršo's decisive late goal in the second leg. [39] At the finals tournament in Portugal, Croatia drew 0–0 with Switzerland and 2–2 with reigning champions France [40] only to lose to England 2–4 and suffer another elimination in the group stage. [41] Barić's two-year contract ended in June 2004 and was not renewed. [42] Former Croatia international Zlatko Kranjčar, appointed to succeed Barić in July 2004, led the team through the 2006 World Cup qualifiers without losing a single match and topping the group ahead of Sweden and Bulgaria. [43] [44] However, local media outlets accused him of nepotism for selecting his son Niko Kranjčar for the national squad. [45] At the 2006 World Cup, Croatia lost their opening game to Brazil and drew 0–0 with Japan after Darijo Srna missed a first-half penalty. [46] [47] A 2–2 draw with Australia, in which three players were sent off, confirmed Croatia's exit in the group stage. [48] The game was also notable for a mistake by referee Graham Poll, who gave three yellow cards to Croatian defender Josip Šimunić, failing to send him off after his second offense. He later stated that he mistook Šimunić for an Australian player due to his Australian accent. [lower-alpha 1] Poll was heavily criticised for losing control of the match, and retired from refereeing shortly afterwards. [49]

In July 2006, the Croatian Football Federation replaced Kranjčar with Slaven Bilić, who played for the national team during their Golden Generation era. [50] Bilić, who previously managed the under-21 team between 2004 and 2006, introduced a host of young players into the squad, which ultimately proved successful. His first game was a friendly away victory against 2006 World Cup champions Italy. [51] [52] After controversially suspending Darijo Srna, Ivica Olić and Boško Balaban for missing a curfew after a nightclub outing, Bilić led the team through qualifiers for Euro 2008. [53] Croatia topped their group, losing only one game to Macedonia and beating England twice, who as a result failed to qualify for the first time since 1984. [54] [55]

Croatia vs. Brazil at the 2006 FIFA World Cup FIFA World Cup 2006 - BRA vs CRO.jpg
Croatia vs. Brazil at the 2006 FIFA World Cup

Shortly before the European Championships, first-choice striker Eduardo, who was the team's top goalscorer during qualifying, suffered a compound fracture while playing for Arsenal in the Premier League. Bilić was forced to alter his final Euro 2008 squad significantly and recruited Nikola Kalinić and Nikola Pokrivač, neither of whom had yet played competitive games for the national team. [56] The team received criticism after poor attacking performances in warm-up games against Scotland and Moldova, but at the tournament they beat Austria, Germany and Poland in the group stages to reach the quarter-finals with maximum group points for the first time in their tournament history. [57] [58] [59] Niko Kovač remained team captain at what was expected to be his final international tournament, except in the final group fixture when Dario Šimić temporarily held the captain's armband. [60] [61] Croatia's campaign ended dramatically when they lost a penalty shoot-out to Turkey, with Luka Modrić, Mladen Petrić and Ivan Rakitić all missing their penalties. Croatia left the tournament with records for fewest goals conceded (2), fewest games lost (0), [lower-alpha 2] and earliest goal (in the fourth minute of their opening game against Austria; this was also the all-time earliest successful penalty at the European Championship Finals). [62] [63] [64] [65]

Following the tournament, Bilić renewed his contract, becoming the first manager since Blažević to lead Croatia to successive tournaments. [66] Croatia were again drawn to play England in the qualifying stages for the 2010 World Cup; the tie was voted the most anticipated of the campaign on FIFA.com. [67] After a home win against Kazakhstan Croatia lost at home to England, ending a 14-year unbeaten home record. [68] [69] The team was eventually weakened due to a number of key players' injuries and went on to suffer their biggest defeat in history, losing 5–1 to England at Wembley Stadium. Although Croatia defeated Kazakhstan in their final qualifying fixture, they were ultimately eliminated as Ukraine, who had previously defeated group leaders England, beat Andorra to win second place in the group. Bilić was once again heavily expected to resign as national coach, but instead vowed to renew his contract and remain in charge.

Croatia vs. Italy match at UEFA Euro 2012 ITA-CRO Euro 2012 (4).JPG
Croatia vs. Italy match at UEFA Euro 2012

Despite heavy loss of form, which also saw the team fall outside the top ten in the FIFA rankings, Croatia were placed in the top tier of teams for the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying draw; Croatia was previously a candidate to co-host the tournament with Hungary which would have allowed the team to qualify automatically, but UEFA eventually chose Poland and Ukraine as hosts instead. Despite being top-seeds in their qualifying group, Croatia finished second behind Greece, settling for a play-off against Euro 2008 rivals Turkey. [70] Croatia proceeded to beat Turkey 3–0 on aggregate, with all three goals coming in the away leg in Istanbul, thereby qualifying for the 2012 European championship. In the proceeding group-stage draw for the tournament, Croatia were placed in the third tier of teams, and were eventually grouped with Ireland, Italy and defending champions Spain.

In the buildup towards the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament, the team's first major competition since their 2008 run at the same event, manager Slaven Bilić formally agreed a deal to manage Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow, thereby announcing he would resign from the national team when the tournament ended. Croatia opened their campaign with a comfortable 3–1 victory over the Republic of Ireland, with striker Mario Mandžukić scoring twice. Mandžukić continued his run at the tournament with an equaliser in the 1–1 draw against Italy, which was marred by controversial fan reactions and referee decisions from English official Howard Webb. In their last group match, Croatia suffered a 0–1 defeat to Spain. The late Spanish goal by Jesús Navas, along with Italy's victory over the Republic of Ireland in the final round, forced Croatia to exit the tournament in the group stage once again. Upon his formal departure, Bilić was also praised for his long-standing service to the national side. Jutarnji List daily labelled him as Croatia's only manager to depart on such positive terms and credited him for his strong revival of the national side during his six-year tenure. [71]

Štimac, Kovač and Čačić period (2012–17)

Croatia vs. Brazil at 2014 World Cup Brazil and Croatia match at the FIFA World Cup 2014-06-12 (50).jpg
Croatia vs. Brazil at 2014 World Cup

Following Bilić's departure, former player and pundit Igor Štimac was appointed manager of the national team. Croatia's all-time top goalscorer Davor Šuker also took over as president of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) after the death of Vlatko Marković ended a 14-year tenure. [72] [73] Štimac's managerial campaign was unsuccessful, as the team endured a succession of poor performances and narrowly finished second in their 2014 World Cup qualifying group. After only a year of his appointment, Štimac was replaced by former captain Niko Kovač, who previously managed the under-21 youth side. [74] Kovač led the team to a 2–0 aggregate victory over Iceland in the qualifying playoffs for the 2014 World Cup, with both goals coming in the home leg in Zagreb. [75] At the World Cup, Croatia were drawn with host-nation Brazil, Mexico and Cameroon. In the opening match of the tournament, Croatia lost 3–1 to Brazil. The match garnered heavy media attention and controversy as Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura was scrutinized for a number of controversial decisions. [76] In their second match, Croatia won 4–0 against Cameroon, [77] but did not progress from the group as they lost 3–1 to Mexico in their final fixture. [78] [79]

In the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Croatia were drawn against Italy, Bulgaria, Norway, Azerbaijan and Malta. [80] Following a goalless away draw against Azerbaijan and an away defeat to Norway, [81] in early September 2015, the Executive Committee of the Croatian Football Federation unanimously decided to terminate Kovač's contract. [82] On 21 September 2015, Ante Čačić was named head coach of the Croatian national team. [83] On 13 October 2015, Croatia qualified for the finals by finishing as runners-up in Group H. [84] Under Čačić, Croatia broke the record for most goals scored in one match after defeating San Marino 10–0 in a friendly. [85]

Croatia's team at the Euro 2016. Croatia at the Euro 2016.jpg
Croatia's team at the Euro 2016.

At Euro 2016, Croatia were drawn in Group D alongside Turkey, the Czech Republic and defending champions Spain, who had won the two previous editions of the tournament, in 2008 and 2012. Croatia began their campaign with a 1–0 win over Turkey; following a sensational long-volley kick from Luka Modrić, with the goal receiving praise and being considered one of the best of the tournament. [86] [87] The next match was against the Czech Republic. With Croatia taking the lead through Ivan Perišić and doubling it through Ivan Rakitić, before goals from Milan Škoda and a last-minute penalty from Tomáš Necid; but the match received controversy for crowd trouble in the last minutes of the match, with Flares being thrown on the pitch and a steward being hurt by a firework during stoppage time. [88] [89] Croatia's final match was against Spain; conceding an early goal from Álvaro Morata, before goals from Nikola Kalinić and a late winning goal from Perišić, securing Croatia a historic win as they topped the group, meanwhile for Spain it was their first defeat at a Euro finals match for the first time since 2004. [90] [91] After the match, Croatia were tipped as one of the tournament favourites, [92] [93] and drew Portugal in the round of 16, who surprisingly finished third in the group, advancing only as the third-best third-placed team. [94] The match was extremely poor, described by BBC Sport as "abysmal", as there were no serious efforts on goal, with Ricardo Quaresma's winning goal in the 117th minute after Ivan Perišić hit the post with a header in the previous attack, knocking Croatia out of the tournament. [95] Shortly after the Euro 2016 campaign, long-standing captain Darijo Srna announced his retirement from international football, amassing a record 134 appearances for the national side. Luka Modrić was announced as his successor for team captain. [96] [97]

Dalić's second "golden generation" (2017–present)

The national squad, lining up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final. Croatia WC2018 final.jpg
The national squad, lining up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.

Croatia started their 2018 World Cup qualification strongly, leading their group and remaining undefeated for the first round of matches. However, consecutive defeats against Iceland and Turkey, as well as a draw against lowly-ranked Finland threatened their qualification hopes and caused a public outcry against manager Ante Čačić. [98] [99] He was quickly replaced by Zlatko Dalić, who led the team to a crucial 2–0 win against Ukraine in Kiev, [100] securing a spot in the playoff round against Greece. Croatia went on to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after beating Greece 4–1 on aggregate, with all goals coming in the first leg in Zagreb. [101] [102]

In the buildup to the tournament, The Guardian , among other news outlets, labelled the 2017–18 squad as Croatia's second golden generation. [103] [104] Key players such as Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Mario Mandžukić drew close comparisons to their 1998 counterparts, and were expected to achieve similar success. [105] [106] [107] Despite a poor showing in their friendly matches, Croatia started their World Cup campaign with a 2–0 victory over Nigeria, with Luka Modrić scoring a penalty. [108] [109] Modrić went on to score again in a highly-applauded 3–0 victory over previous finalists Argentina, which was also marked by Vedran Ćorluka earning his 100th cap for the national team. [110] [111] [112] Croatia then defeated Iceland to top the group with maximum points, marking their best ever performance in the group stages of the World Cup. [113] [114]

They went on to play Denmark in the round of sixteen; the match was dubbed as Croatia's best chance to finally win a knockout round fixture at a major tournament, which they hadn't done since 1998. Despite conceding in the first minute of the match, they equalized into the fourth minute of the game to force extra-time, where Modrić failed to convert a penalty in the 116th minute. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Croatia prevailed after goalkeeper Danijel Subašić saved three penalties, equalling the record for most penalties saved in a match. This was the team's first ever successful penalty shootout, garnering praise from the local public and international media. [115] [116] [117] In the quarter-finals, Croatia drew 2–2 with hosts Russia, but advanced after another successful penalty shootout. This made them the first team since 1990 to win two consecutive penalty shootouts at the World Cup, and also equalled their best ever run at the tournament. [118] [119] [120]

The 2017-18 national squad, dubbed the "Second Golden Generation", posing with Vladimir Putin and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic after the 2018 World Cup Final against France. Croatia's post-match huddle after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.jpg
The 2017–18 national squad, dubbed the "Second Golden Generation", posing with Vladimir Putin and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović after the 2018 World Cup Final against France.

Croatia went on to play England in the semi-finals. After falling behind once more, they equalized to force their third consecutive extra-time, equalling another record for most extra-time matches at the tournament. [121] [122] Mario Mandžukić eventually scored as Croatia won 2–1, making them the second-smallest country by population to reach a World Cup final (after Uruguay in 1930). [123] [124] Croatia eventually lost the final 4–2 to France, where a controversial free kick was awarded to France for a possible dive by Antoine Griezmann, as well as controversial penalty later in the game awarded by the video assistant referee (VAR) for a handball by Perišić. [125] After the match, Luka Modrić became the first Croatian to win the Golden Ball award for best player of the tournament. For achieving their best ever World Cup finish, the Croatian players were welcomed by an estimated half a million people at their homecoming in the capital of Zagreb. [126]

On 23 January 2018, Croatia were drawn to play against England and Spain in the League A of inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League; an international tournament contested by all UEFA member's national teams. [127] [128] On 11 September 2018, Croatia lost 6–0 away to Spain in their first Nations League game, with the result becoming Croatia's record loss in the process. [129] Croatia drew 0–0 home with England. [130] The match was played behind closed doors due to UEFA punishment. [131] In the next match against Spain, Croatia won 3–2 home due to a goal in stoppage time. [132] But due to 2–1 away defeat to England, Croatia placed last in the group and got relegated to League B of the next edition of the tournament. [133]

On 2 December 2018, the draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers was held in Dublin, Ireland. Croatia was the seeded team of the Group E and grouped with Wales, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan. [134] Croatia started their qualifying campaign poorly by narrowly winning on 21 March by the score of 2–1 against Azerbaijan and narrowly losing on 24 March by the same score to Hungary. [135] [136] [137] Although they dropped points by drawing with Azerbaijan and Wales away, Croatia managed to top their qualifying group for the first time since Euro 2008 qualification. [138] Croatia was drawn in Group D of the tournament, alongside England, the Czech Republic and the play-offs winner (Norway, Serbia, Scotland or Israel). However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was delayed for a year.

After the Nations League format change in September 2019, Croatia remained in the League A. On 3 March 2020, Croatia were drawn in Group 3, alongside Sweden, France and Portugal.

Notes
  1. The rules of Association football state that on receiving a second yellow card in a single match a player must be given a red card and be removed for the rest of the match per the Laws of the Game.
  2. Under the rules of Association football and the official European Championship tournament regulations, a loss inflicted via a penalty shootout does not count as a defeat, but rather a tie which needed a final process to determine the team which advances per the Laws of the Game.

Team image

Kits and crests

The Croatian chequy has been a symbol of Croatia since the Middle Ages. HNS dres 300410 1.jpg
The Croatian chequy has been a symbol of Croatia since the Middle Ages.

Croatia's modern-day jersey was designed in 1990 by locally acclaimed painter Miroslav Šutej, who also designed the nation's flag, coat of arms and banknotes. The traditional red and white motif is based on the historic Croatian checkerboard (šahovnica), which has been used to represent Croats since the Middle Ages. [139] [140] [141] Although there have been many slight variations made by the kit manufacturers since the original release, the jersey design has remained consistent throughout the years, and has served as a blueprint for many other Croatian national sports teams and entities. [17] The typical combination has featured red-and-white chequred shirts, white shorts and blue socks, mirroring the tricolour of the country's flag.

Away kits used by the team have traditionally been all-blue, incorporating the red-and-white chequers as a trim. In recent years, Croatia has moved to using darker away kits, such as the now-infamous dark navy-and-black chequered design that featured prominently in the 2018 World Cup campaign. The Vatreni have often been required to use their away kits even when playing at home or when being listed as the designated "home" team at neutral venues, as teams also using a red-and-white colour scheme often use a red home kit and white away kit, or vice versa. Since both kits clash with the chequers of Croatia, frequent use of the away kit has been necessitated.

Kit supplierPeriod
Flag of Germany.svg Uhlsport 1990–1991
Flag of Italy.svg Lotto 1992–1994
Flag of Italy.svg Kappa 1994
Flag of Italy.svg Lotto 1994–2000
Flag of the United States.svg Nike 2000–present

Supporters

Croatia supporters at UEFA Euro 2012 ITA-CRO Euro 2012 (3).JPG
Croatia supporters at UEFA Euro 2012

Football is Croatia's most popular team sport, and the national team has developed an extensive fan base since its formation in 1991. [142] Following their run at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, just three years after the Croatian War of Independence, there was a rapid rise in domestic and global attention for the side. Balkan Insight commented that the national team became a symbol of Croatian independence from Yugoslavia. [143] However, after the death of former-president Franjo Tuđman, local political ties with the national team have loosened. All matches are widely followed and televised throughout the country, particularly during tournaments. [144]

A large part of the team's support base consists of fans of Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb, the two best-supported clubs in the Croatian domestic league, the Prva HNL. [145] Both sets of fans Bad Blue Boys of Zagreb and Torcida from Split—have been associated with hooliganism due to their ultra-style support, [146] [147] though violence between them does not occur at international matches. Other ultras groups are Armada Rijeka, Kohorta Osijek, Ultras Vinkovci, Tornado Zadar, Funcuti Šibenik and Demoni Pula. Heavy support for the Croatian national team also comes from Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly from fans of Zrinjski Mostar and Široki Brijeg. [148] There are also considerable Croatian communities in Australia, North America, and South America that follow the team. [149] [150]

Among supporters, it is customary to include an inscription of their city of origin onto the Croatian flag to indicate where they are from. They are also notable for their vocal support and orchestrated chants during matches. It is common for one section to shout "U boj, u boj" (To Battle, to Battle), with another responding "Za narod svoj" (For Our People), which is an old Croatian patriotic song. When the team wins, supporters often chant "Bježite ljudi, bježite iz grada" (Run Away People, Run Away From the City), which is a song praising the large presence of euphoric Croatian fans. [151] The Croatian Football Federation endorses an official fan club for the team, known as Uvijek Vjerni (Always Faithful). [152]

The national team enjoys widespread support from various local musicians, who often release tracks dedicated to them. Former manager Slaven Bilić and his rock band released a single, "Vatreno ludilo" (Fiery Madness), which reached the top position on the Croatian music charts during Euro 2008. [153] [154] Other Croatian artists such as Baruni, Connect, Dino Dvornik, Gibonni, Prljavo Kazalište, Colonia, Stoka, Nered and Thompson have also recorded songs praising the team. The most widely used among supporters are "Moja domovina" (My Homeland), "Srce vatreno" (Fiery Heart), "Hrvatska je prvak svijeta" (Croatia Are World Champions), and "Malo nas je, al' nas ima" (We Are Few, But We Exist). Most popular among the fans and played at every home match is "Lijepa li si" (How Beautiful You Are) by Thompson and fans sing it themselves during the match. Bad Blue Boys supporters from Zaprešić made their band Zaprešić Boys and made few popular songs for each tournament like "Samo je jedno" (Only One Thing), "U pobjedi i porazu" (In Victory and Defeat) "Neopisivo" (Undescribable), "Igraj moja Hrvatska" (Play, My Croatia), with the latter being an unofficial anthem for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The players and fans often adopt other patriotic songs to celebrate victories as well.

Croatian supporters have traditionally used flares to celebrate the team's victories, though the use of pyrotechnics has become increasingly controversial due to sanctions imposed by FIFA and UEFA. Cro-Ger 2-0.jpg
Croatian supporters have traditionally used flares to celebrate the team's victories, though the use of pyrotechnics has become increasingly controversial due to sanctions imposed by FIFA and UEFA.

Fans' behaviour at international games has led to various sanctions against the national side, despite due efforts by the HNS, Croatian government and players to prevent unwanted incidents. The team has been penalized for multiple acts of racist behaviour by its fans, including racial abuse towards English striker Emile Heskey in 2010, racial chants at a home game against Norway in 2015 and the carving of a swastika into the pitch at a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy that same year (to which no fans were allowed, as penalty for the infraction against Norway). The 12 October 2018 UEFA Nations League game against England was played in Croatia, also without fans. [155] (This penalty is commonly referred to as a "ghost game", which is played by the teams but which has no audience.) [156] [157] There have also been reports of minor clashes involving Croatian fans at various tournaments, leading to further sanctions imposed by FIFA and UEFA. [158] [159]

There are often fears of particular violence during matches against Serbia, such as the politically-fuelled football riot following the 1990 parliamentary election. [160] This has led to extra security measures being imposed for these matches and general restrictions on traveling fans. There have also been multiple acts of protest against the national team, in response to widespread allegations of corruption within the Croatian Football Federation, and other fan disturbances whose cause is not easily defined. [161] Croatia's Euro 2016 qualifying fixture against Italy in Milan was interrupted due to flares being thrown onto the field by a small section of attendants, which also occurred at a European Championship match against Czech Republic. [162] [163]

Stadiums

The majority of Croatia's home matches take place at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, which is also the home-ground of local football club Dinamo. The venue, built in 1912 and refurbished in 1997, is named after the surrounding neighbourhood of Maksimir. It was one of two venues for UEFA Euro 1976, hosted by Yugoslavia, alongside Red Star Stadium in Belgrade. It has been hosting national team games since Croatia's competitive home debut against Lithuania. [164] The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) previously agreed on extensive plans with the government to renovate the stadium and increase its current forty-thousand seating capacity, however the proposal was eventually rejected by Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić in 2008 due to high construction costs. [164] [165] [166]

Some home matches are occasionally played at other, smaller venues around the country. The Stadion Poljud in Split has hosted several qualifying fixtures since 1995, the first being a 1–1 draw with Italy. In the period between 1995 and 2011, Croatia never won a competitive match at Poljud, which the local media dubbed "Poljudsko prokletsvo" ("the Poljud curse"). The run was finally ended after the team came from behind to beat Georgia on 3 June 2011. [167] Qualifying fixtures have also been played at the Stadion Kantrida in Rijeka, along with Stadion Gradski vrt in Osijek and the Stadion Anđelko Herjavec in Varaždin. However, these venues are rarely used due to their remote locations and smaller seating capacity, despite objections from local residents and some players. [168] The following table provides a summary Croatia results at various venues used for home games. Since Croatia's first match in October 1990, they played home games at eleven stadiums around the country. The following table provides a summary of Croatia's results at home venues.

StadiumCity / townPldWDLWin %Last match hosted
Stadion Maksimir Zagreb 6545155069.22019
Stadion Poljud Split 13274015.42019
Stadion Kantrida Rijeka 121110091.72011
Stadion Gradski vrt Osijek 121020083.32019
Stadion A. Herjavec Varaždin 8521062.52019
Stadion A. Drosina Pula 5401080.02019
Stadion Rujevica Rijeka 5320060.02019
Stadion Koprivnica Koprivnica 1100100.02016
Stadion Cibalia Vinkovci 1100100.02009
Stadion Kranjčevićeva Zagreb 1100100.01996
Stadion Šubićevac Šibenik 1010000.02003
Totals124833011

Last updated: Croatia vs. Georgia, 19 November 2019
Statistics include only official matches recognized by HNS [169]

Rivalries

Final of the Soccer World Cup Russia between the national teams of France and Croatia.jpg
Croatia contest the Le derby tricolore with France. The 2018 World Cup Final is seen as the pinnacle of their rivalry.
Flag of Croatia and Serbia.svg
Croatia and Serbia, belligerents during the Croatian War of Independence, have developed a rivalry.

The Croatia national football team has developed numerous rivalries with other national teams. Most of these are friendly in nature, stemming from repeated match-ups and the context in which they are played. However, some are also politically and socially charged. The following are the team's most notable opponents:

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGASquadPosPldWDLGFGA
Flag of Uruguay.svg 1930 Part of Flag of Yugoslavia (1918-1943).svg  Kingdom of Yugoslavia N/A
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg 1934
Flag of France (1794-1958).svg 1938
Flag of Brazil (1960-1968).svg 1950 Part of Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  SFR Yugoslavia
Flag of Switzerland.svg 1954
Flag of Sweden.svg 1958
Flag of Chile.svg 1962
Flag of England.svg 1966
Flag of Mexico.svg 1970
Flag of Germany.svg 1974
Flag of Argentina.svg 1978
Flag of Spain.svg 1982
Flag of Mexico.svg 1986
Flag of Italy.svg 1990
Flag of the United States.svg 1994 Not a FIFA member
Flag of France.svg 1998 Third place 3rd 7502115 Squad 2nd 105412013
Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg Flag of Japan.svg 2002 Group stage 23rd 310223 Squad 1st 8530152
Flag of Germany.svg 2006 22nd 302123 Squad 1st 10730215
Flag of South Africa.svg 2010 Did not qualify 3rd 106221913
Flag of Brazil.svg 2014 Group stage 19th 310266 Squad 2nd 12633149
Flag of Russia.svg 2018 Runners-up 2nd 7421149 Squad 2nd 12732195
Flag of Qatar.svg 2022 To be determinedTo be determined
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Flag of Mexico.svg Flag of the United States.svg 2026
Flag of None.svg 2030
Flag of None.svg 2034
TotalRunners-up5/62311483526623618810847

Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks; correct as of 15 July 2018 after the match against Flag of France.svg  France .

UEFA European Championship

UEFA European Championship record UEFA European Championship qualifying
YearRoundPositionPldWDLGFGASquadPosPldWDLGFGA
Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg 1960 Part of Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  SFR Yugoslavia N/A
Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg 1964
Flag of Italy.svg 1968
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg 1972
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg 1976
Flag of Italy.svg 1980
Flag of France.svg 1984
Flag of Germany.svg 1988
Flag of Sweden.svg 1992
Flag of England.svg 1996 Quarter-final7th420255 Squad 1st 10721225
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg 2000 Did not qualify 3rd 8431139
Flag of Portugal.svg 2004 Group stage13th302146 Squad 2nd 10622145
Flag of Austria.svg Flag of Switzerland.svg 2008 Quarter-final5th431052 Squad 1st 12921288
Flag of Poland.svg Flag of Ukraine.svg 2012 Group stage10th311143 Squad 2nd 12822217
Flag of France.svg 2016 Round of 169th421154 Squad 2nd 10631205
Flag of Europe.svg 2020 Qualified 1st 8521177
Flag of Germany.svg 2024 To be determinedTo be determined
Flag of None.svg 2028
TotalQuarter-final6/7188552320704516913546

Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks; correct as of 16 November 2019 after the match against Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia .


UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League record
SeasonDivisionGroupPldWDLGFGAP/RRK
Flag of Portugal.svg 2018–19 A 4 4112410Equals-sign-blue.gif9th
Flag of None.svg 2020–21 A 3 To be determined
Flag of None.svg 2022–23 To be determined
Total41124109th

Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks; correct as of 18 November 2018 after the match against Flag of England.svg  England .

All-time team records

Croatia had an undefeated run in qualification games on home soil for World or European Championships from 4 September 1994 until 10 September 2008, marking a span of 14 years and 35 matches without a single loss.

Alen Halilovic debut for Croatia in June 2013, aged 16 years old Alen Halilovic - Croatia vs. Portugal, 10th June 2013.jpg
Alen Halilović debut for Croatia in June 2013, aged 16 years old

Dario Šimić was Croatia's first player to reach 100 appearances, doing so before his retirement in 2008. This allowed him to surpass Robert Jarni's previous record of 81 appearances. [206] [207] [208] On 6 February 2013, captain Darijo Srna, Josip Šimunić and Stipe Pletikosa each also played their 100th cap for Croatia in a 4–0 friendly victory over South Korea in London. The trio went on to set a new joint-record of 101 appearances for the national team in March 2013 in a World Cup qualifying victory against Serbia in Zagreb. Srna eventually surpassed his teammates and accrued a record total of 134 international caps for Croatia before retiring in 2016. Alen Halilović is the youngest player to represent the team, making his senior debut in June 2013 aged 16 years, 11 months and 22 days. [209] The team's oldest player is Dražen Ladić, who played his last match in May 2000 aged 37 years, 4 months and 27 days. [210]

With 45 goals scored, Davor Šuker, the current president of the Croatian Football Federation, is the team's highest-scoring player. [33] The national team's record for highest-scoring victory was achieved in 2016, a 10–0 friendly win over San Marino. Croatia's biggest defeat is a 6–0 loss against Spain played on 11 September 2018 in Elche in Croatia's first game of the UEFA Nations League.

FIFA ranking history

The following is a chart of yearly averages of Croatia's FIFA ranking. [211] Upon admission to FIFA, Croatia was ranked 125th in the world. The 1998 World Cup propelled Croatia to third place immediately after the tournament, making it the most volatile team in FIFA Rankings history. It held that rank until February 1999. [212] [213]

Croatia national football team

Head-to-head record

Key
  Positive balance (more wins than losses)
  Neutral balance (as many wins as losses)
  Negative balance (more losses than wins)

Correct as of 19 November 2019, after the match against Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia .

OpponentPldWDLGFGAGDWin %
Flag of Banate of Croatia (1939-1941).svg  Banovina of Croatia
Flag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946).svg  Hungary 201112−1000.00
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 220050+5100.00
Total: 2 teams played421162+4050.00
Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg  Independent State of Croatia
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 110060+6100.00
Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg  Germany 3003212−10000.00
Flag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946).svg  Hungary 101011+0000.00
Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg  Italy 100104−4000.00
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 101022+0000.00
Flag of Slovakia (1939-1945).svg  Slovakia 7610259+16085.71
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 100101−1000.00
Total: 7 teams played157353629+7046.67
Flag of the Socialist Republic of Croatia.svg  Socialist Republic of Croatia
Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 110052+3100.00
Total: 1 team played110052+3100.00
Flag of Croatia.svg  Republic of Croatia [169]
Flag of Andorra.svg  Andorra 6600240+24100.00
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 521275+2040.00
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 6222116+5033.33
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 550092+7100.00
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 422092+7050.00
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 220041+3100.00
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 732295+4042.86
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 4400146+8100.00
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 401327−5000.00
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 7421105+5057.14
Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 110040+4100.00
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 101011+0000.00
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR 101011+0000.00
Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus 110020+2100.00
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 312075+2033.33
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 622287+1033.33
Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador 100101−1000.00
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 101022+0000.00
Flag of England.svg  England 103251321−8030.00
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 9621165+11066.67
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 211021+1050.00
Flag of France.svg  France 6024513−8000.00
Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia 320143+1066.67
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 521286+2040.00
Flag of Gibraltar.svg  Gibraltar 110040+4100.00
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 8242109+1025.00
Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong 110040+4100.00
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 9441177+10044.44
Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland 7511133+10071.43
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 211042+2050.00
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel 9810228+14088.89
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 8350106+4037.50
Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica 110031+2100.00
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 311144+0033.33
Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan 110021+1100.00
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 220051+4100.00
Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo 220070+7100.00
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 4400101+9100.00
Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein 220082+6100.00
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania 211020+2050.00
Flag of Mali.svg  Mali 110021+1100.00
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 8710194+15087.50
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 640296+3066.67
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova 220020+2100.00
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 101022+0000.00
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 210124−2050.00
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 110020+2100.00
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia 8521119+2062.50
Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland 110030+3100.00
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 5311106+4060.00
Flag of Peru (state).svg  Peru 100102−2000.00
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 531173+4060.00
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 501418−7000.00
Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar 110032+1100.00
Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland 723288+0028.57
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 440061+5100.00
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 413053+2025.00
Flag of San Marino.svg  San Marino 3300180+18100.00
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 503225−3000.00
Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal 110021+1100.00
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 211031+2050.00
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 8422159+6050.00
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia 9630168+8066.67
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 7322117+4042.86
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 8314915−6037.50
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 430154+1075.00
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 302146−2000.00
Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia 100112−1000.00
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 9351106+4033.33
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 9531155+10055.56
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 110021+1100.00
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 6420104+6066.67
Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006).svg  Yugoslavia 202022+0000.00
Total: 73 teams played3021618259514285+229053.31
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia total
Total: 74 teams played3221718665561318+243053.11

Results and fixtures

The following matches have been played within the past 12 months.

Times are CET/CEST, in accordance with Croatian local time (local times if different, are in parentheses).

2019

6 September UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Slovakia  Flag of Slovakia.svg0–4Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Trnava, Slovakia
20:45 CEST Report
Stadium: Anton Malatinský Stadium
Attendance: 18,098
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)
Assistant referees: Mark Borsch (Germany)
Assistant referees: Stefan Lupp (Germany)
Fourth official: Marco Fritz (Germany)
9 September UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Azerbaijan  Flag of Azerbaijan.svg1–1Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Baku, Azerbaijan
18:00 CEST
(20:00 AZT)
Report
Stadium: Bakcell Arena
Attendance: 9,000
Referee: Sandro Schärer (Switzerland)
Assistant referees: Stéphane De Almeida (Switzerland)
Assistant referees: Alain Heiniger (Switzerland)
Fourth official: Fedayi San (Switzerland)
10 October UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svg3–0Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary Split, Croatia
20:45 CEST
Report Stadium: Stadion Poljud
Attendance: 32,110
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Assistant referees: Lorenzo Manganelli (Italy)
Assistant referees: Fabiano Preti (Italy)
Fourth official: Davide Massa (Italy)
13 October UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Wales  Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg1–1Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Cardiff, Wales
20:45 CEST
(19:45 BST)
Report
Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium
Attendance: 31,745
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)
Assistant referees: Sander van Roekel (Netherlands)
Assistant referees: Erwin Zeinstra (Netherlands)
Fourth official: Pol van Boekel (Netherlands)
16 November UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svg3–1Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Rijeka, Croatia
20:45 CET
Report
Stadium: Stadion Rujevica
Attendance: 8,212
Referee: Clément Turpin (France)
Assistant referees: Nicolas Danos (France)
Assistant referees: Cyril Gringore (France)
Fourth official: François Letexier (France)
19 November International friendly Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svg2–1Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia Pula, Croatia
18:00 CET
Report Stadium: Stadion Aldo Drosina
Attendance: 5,072
Referee: Alan Mario Sant (Malta)
Assistant referees: Duncan Sultana (Malta)
Assistant referees: Luke Portelli (Malta)
Fourth official: Marin Vidulin (Croatia)

2020

26 MarchQatar Airways International Tournament Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svgCancelledFlag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland Ar-Rayyan, Qatar
17:30 CET
(19:30 AST)
Report Stadium: Education City Stadium
Note: Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [214]
30 MarchQatar Airways International Tournament Portugal  Flag of Portugal.svgCancelledFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Ar-Rayyan, Qatar
19:30 CEST
(20:30 AST)
Report Stadium: Education City Stadium
Note: Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [214]
1 June International friendly Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svgCancelledFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Osijek, Croatia
Report Stadium: Stadion Gradski vrt
Note: Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [215]
8 June International friendly France  Flag of France.svgCancelledFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Nice, France
21:00 CEST Report Stadium: Allianz Riviera
Note: Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [215]
5 September 2020–21 UEFA Nations League Portugal  Flag of Portugal.svgvFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Portugal
20:45 CEST
(19:45 WEST)
Report
8 September 2020–21 UEFA Nations League France  Flag of France.svgvFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia France
20:45 CEST Report
11 October 2020–21 UEFA Nations League Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svgvFlag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Croatia
18:00 CEST Report
14 October 2020–21 UEFA Nations League Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svgvFlag of France.svg  France Croatia
20:45 CEST Report
14 November 2020–21 UEFA Nations League Sweden  Flag of Sweden.svgvFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Sweden
20:45 CET Report
17 November 2020–21 UEFA Nations League Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svgvFlag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Croatia
20:45 CET Report

2021

13 June UEFA Euro 2020 England  Flag of England.svgvFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia London, England
15:00 CEST
(14:00 BST)
Report Stadium: Wembley Stadium
18 June UEFA Euro 2020 Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svgvFlag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic Glasgow, Scotland
18:00 CEST
(17:00 BST)
Report Stadium: Hampden Park
22 June UEFA Euro 2020 Croatia  Flag of Croatia.svgvFlag of None.svg Winner Play-off Path C Glasgow, Scotland
21:00 CEST
(20:00 BST)
Report Stadium: Hampden Park

Players

Current squad

The following is the list of players for friendly games against Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland on 26 March 2020 and Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal on 30 March 2020 that have in the meantime been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [216] [214]
Caps and goals as of 19 November 2019 after match against Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia ; only matches as FIFA member are included.

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
1 GK Lovre Kalinić (1990-04-03) 3 April 1990 (age 30)190 Flag of France.svg Toulouse
1 GK Dominik Livaković (1995-01-09) 9 January 1995 (age 25)90 Flag of Croatia.svg Dinamo Zagreb
1 GK Simon Sluga (1993-03-17) 17 March 1993 (age 27)20 Flag of England.svg Luton Town

2 DF Domagoj Vida (Third captain) (1989-04-29) 29 April 1989 (age 31)794 Flag of Turkey.svg Beşiktaş
2 DF Dejan Lovren (1989-07-05) 5 July 1989 (age 30)573 Flag of England.svg Liverpool
2 DF Šime Vrsaljko (1992-01-10) 10 January 1992 (age 28)450 Flag of Spain.svg Atlético Madrid
2 DF Tin Jedvaj (1995-11-28) 28 November 1995 (age 24)242 Flag of Germany.svg Augsburg
2 DF Borna Barišić (1992-11-10) 10 November 1992 (age 27)121 Flag of Scotland.svg Rangers
2 DF Duje Ćaleta-Car (1996-09-17) 17 September 1996 (age 23)50 Flag of France.svg Marseille
2 DF Mile Škorić (1991-06-19) 19 June 1991 (age 29)30 Flag of Croatia.svg Osijek
2 DF Dario Melnjak (1992-10-31) 31 October 1992 (age 27)20 Flag of Turkey.svg Çaykur Rizespor

3 MF Luka Modrić (Captain) (1985-09-09) 9 September 1985 (age 34)12716 Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid
3 MF Ivan Rakitić (Vice-captain) (1988-03-10) 10 March 1988 (age 32)10615 Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona
3 MF Mateo Kovačić (1994-05-06) 6 May 1994 (age 26)561 Flag of England.svg Chelsea
3 MF Marcelo Brozović (1992-11-16) 16 November 1992 (age 27)516 Flag of Italy.svg Internazionale
3 MF Milan Badelj (1989-02-25) 25 February 1989 (age 31)502 Flag of Italy.svg Fiorentina
3 MF Mario Pašalić (1995-02-09) 9 February 1995 (age 25)120 Flag of Italy.svg Atalanta
3 MF Nikola Vlašić (1997-10-04) 4 October 1997 (age 22)113 Flag of Russia.svg CSKA Moscow

4 FW Ivan Perišić (1989-02-02) 2 February 1989 (age 31)8826 Flag of Germany.svg Bayern Munich
4 FW Andrej Kramarić (1991-06-19) 19 June 1991 (age 29)4613 Flag of Germany.svg 1899 Hoffenheim
4 FW Ante Rebić (1993-09-21) 21 September 1993 (age 26)343 Flag of Italy.svg Milan
4 FW Josip Brekalo (1998-06-23) 23 June 1998 (age 22)110 Flag of Germany.svg VfL Wolfsburg
4 FW Bruno Petković (1994-09-16) 16 September 1994 (age 25)85 Flag of Croatia.svg Dinamo Zagreb

Recent call-ups

The following players have also been called up to the Croatia squad in the last 12 months and are still eligible for selection.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
DF Karlo Bartolec (1995-04-20) 20 April 1995 (age 25)50 Flag of Denmark.svg Copenhagen v. Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia , 19 November 2019
DF Josip Juranović (1995-08-16) 16 August 1995 (age 24)20 Flag of Croatia.svg Hajduk Split v. Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia , 19 November 2019
DF Dino Perić INJ (1994-07-12) 12 July 1994 (age 25)20 Flag of Croatia.svg Dinamo Zagreb v. Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia , 19 November 2019
DF Matej Mitrović (1993-11-10) 10 November 1993 (age 26)122 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Club Brugge v. Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia , 16 November 2019

MF Marko Rog (1995-07-19) 19 July 1995 (age 24)170 Flag of Italy.svg Cagliari v. Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia , 19 November 2019
MF Filip Bradarić (1992-01-11) 11 January 1992 (age 28)60 Flag of Spain.svg Celta Vigo v. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales , 13 October 2019
MF Mijo Caktaš (1992-05-08) 8 May 1992 (age 28)10 Flag of Croatia.svg Hajduk Split v. Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan , 9 September 2019

FW Mislav Oršić (1992-12-29) 29 December 1992 (age 27)30 Flag of Croatia.svg Dinamo Zagreb v. Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia , 19 November 2019
Key

Coaching staff

Zlatko Dalic, the current manager of the Croatia national football team Zlatko Dalic Croatia.jpg
Zlatko Dalić, the current manager of the Croatia national football team
PositionName [217]
Head coach Flag of Croatia.svg Zlatko Dalić
Assistant coaches Flag of Croatia.svg Dražen Ladić
Flag of Croatia.svg Ivica Olić
Goalkeeping coach Flag of Croatia.svg Marjan Mrmić
Fitness coach Flag of Croatia.svg Luka Milanović
Video analyst Flag of Scotland.svg Marc Rochon
Physiotherapists Flag of Croatia.svg Nenad Krošnjar
Flag of Kosovo.svg Nderim Redžaj
Flag of Croatia.svg Goran Beloglavec
Flag of Croatia.svg Miroslav Jamnić
Doctors Flag of Croatia.svg Zoran Bahtijarević
Flag of Croatia.svg Saša Janković
Flag of Croatia.svg Eduard Rod
Team manager Flag of Croatia.svg Iva Olivari
Security officer Flag of Croatia.svg Miroslav Marković
Media officer Flag of Croatia.svg Tomislav Pacak
Chef Flag of Croatia.svg Tomica Đukić
Kit men Flag of Croatia.svg Mladen Pilčić
Flag of Croatia.svg Goran Vincek
Flag of Croatia.svg Dennis Lukančić

Previous squads

Statistics

Most capped players

Darijo Srna, former captain (2008-2016) and all-time most capped player. Darijo Srna - Croatia vs. Portugal, 10th June 2013 (3) (crop) (cropped).jpg
Darijo Srna, former captain (2008–2016) and all-time most capped player.
  Highlighted names denote a player still playing or available for selection.
#NameCroatia careerCapsGoals
1 Darijo Srna 2002–201613422
2 Luka Modrić 2006–12716
3 Stipe Pletikosa 1999–20141140
4 Ivan Rakitić 2007–10615
5 Josip Šimunić 2001–20131053
6 Ivica Olić 2002–201510420
7 Vedran Ćorluka 2006–20181034
8 Dario Šimić 1996–20081003
9 Mario Mandžukić 2007–20188933
10 Ivan Perišić 2011–8826

Last updated: Croatia vs. Georgia, 19 November 2019.

Source: Croatian Football Federation

Top goalscorers

Davor Suker, Croatia's all-time top scorer. Davor Suker 300x450px.jpg
Davor Šuker, Croatia's all-time top scorer.
  Highlighted names denote a player still playing or available for selection.
#NameCroatia careerGoalsCaps
1 Davor Šuker [33] 1991–20024569
2 Mario Mandžukić 2007–20183389
3 Eduardo da Silva 2004–20142964
4 Ivan Perišić 2011–2688
5 Darijo Srna 2002–201622134
6 Ivica Olić 2002–201520104
7 Niko Kranjčar 2004–20131681
Luka Modrić 2006–127
9 Nikola Kalinić 2008–20181542
Goran Vlaović 1992–200252
Ivan Rakitić 2007–106

Last updated: Croatia vs. Georgia, 19 November 2019.

Source: Croatian Football Federation

Most clean sheets

  Highlighted names denote a player still playing or available for selection.
#NameCroatia careerClean sheetsCaps
1 Stipe Pletikosa 1999–201454114
2 Dražen Ladić 1990–20002659
3 Danijel Subašić 2009–20182444
4 Tomislav Butina 2001–20061528
5 Vedran Runje 2006–2011922
6 Tonči Gabrić 1990–199759
Marjan Mrmić 1995–199913
8 Lovre Kalinić 2014–419
9 Ivan Vargić 2014–33
Joey Didulica 2004–20064
Dominik Livaković 2017–9

Last updated: Croatia vs. Georgia, 19 November 2019.

Source: Croatian Football Federation

Managers

The following table provides a summary of the complete record of each Croatia manager including their results regarding World Cups and European Championships.

ManagerPeriodPldWDLWin %Major competitions
Flag of Yugoslavia (1918-1943).svg Jozo Jakopić1939–19414211050.00N/A
Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg Rudolf Hitrec 19411001000.00
Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg Bogdan Cuvaj 1941–194313634046.15
Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg Bernard Hügl 1943–19451100100.00
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Bogdan Cuvaj 19561100100.00
Flag of Croatia.svg Dražan Jerković 1990–19913300100.00
Flag of Croatia.svg Stanko Poklepović 19924112025.00
Flag of Croatia.svg Vlatko Marković 1993–19941100100.00
Flag of Croatia.svg Miroslav Blažević 1994–200072332415045.83 Symbol confirmed.svg 1996 European Championship  – Quarter-final
Symbol confirmed.svg 1998 World Cup  – Third place
Symbol delete vote.svg 2000 European Championship  – Failed to qualify
Flag of Croatia.svg Tomislav Ivić (c) [lower-alpha 1] 19941100100.00N/A
Flag of Croatia.svg Mirko Jozić 2000–200218963050.00 Symbol confirmed.svg 2002 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Otto Barić 2002–2004241185045.83 Symbol confirmed.svg 2004 European Championship  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Zlatko Kranjčar 2004–2006251186044.00 Symbol confirmed.svg 2006 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Slaven Bilić 2006–20126542158064.62 Symbol confirmed.svg 2008 European Championship  – Quarter-final
Symbol delete vote.svg 2010 World Cup  – Failed to qualify
Symbol confirmed.svg 2012 European Championship  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Igor Štimac 2012–201315825053.33N/A
Flag of Croatia.svg Niko Kovač 2013–2015191054052.63 Symbol confirmed.svg 2014 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Ante Čačić 2015–2017251564060.00 Symbol confirmed.svg 2016 European Championship  – Round of 16
Flag of Croatia.svg Zlatko Dalić 2017–301677053.33 Symbol confirmed.svg 2018 World Cup  – Runners-up

Symbol confirmed.svg 2020 European Championship  TBD

Totals322171866511 out of 13

Last updated: Croatia vs. Georgia, 19 November 2019.

Source: Croatian Football Federation

  1. In September 1994, national team manager Miroslav Blažević, who was also coaching Croatia Zagreb at the time, was dismissed in a 1994–95 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup match against Auxerre. Blažević was suspended by UEFA for one game and Ivić was appointed as his replacement for the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying match against Italy in November 1994.

Honours

Major tournaments

Minor tournaments

Other awards

Outside of football

In 2010, manager Slaven Bilić established a foundation Vatreno Srce (Fiery Heart), starting a string of charity work by the national team. [218] The primary cause of the foundation is helping children in various forms. [219] As of 2012, the foundation made fifty donations of 1,200,000 HRK to various children's organizations. [220]

On 16 December 2012, the foundation made 500,000 HRK on an auction of Niko Kranjčar's shirt and Lionel Messi's shirt that was signed by all FC Barcelona players. The auction was organized in Esplanade Zagreb Hotel and even attended by President of Croatia Ivo Josipović. [220]

On 13 November 2018, the players gathered in hotel The Westin Zagreb to answer the fans' phonecalls, the proceeds of which were donated to the Vatreno Srce foundation. In 2018, the foundation chose to finance Children's Hospital Zagreb and Korak u Život (A Step Into Life), a charity that helps youngsters raised in orphanages to make the transition into the higher education system. [218] [221]

On 11 November 2019, more than 500,000 HRK were collected in another call event, that were then directed to Children's Hospital Kantrida. [222]

On 24 March 2020, the national team players donated 4,200,000 HRK for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and for repair of damage caused by 2020 Zagreb earthquake. [223]

See also

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