Croatia national football team

Last updated

Croatia
Croatia national football team crest.svg
Nickname(s) Vatreni (The Blazers)
Kockasti (The Chequered Ones)
Association Hrvatski nogometni savez (HNS)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Zlatko Dalić
Captain Luka Modrić
Most caps Darijo Srna (134)
Top scorer Davor Šuker (45)
Home stadium Stadion Maksimir
FIFA code CRO
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First colours
Kit left arm cro18A.png
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Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 5 Decrease2.svg 1 (4 April 2019) [1]
Highest3 (January 1999)
Lowest125 (March 1994)
Elo ranking
Current 15 Increase2.svg 2 (27 March 2019) [2]
Highest5 (July 1998, July 2018)
Lowest26 (October 2002)
First international
Flag of Banate of Croatia (1939-1941).svg  Croatia 4–0 Switzerland   Flag of Switzerland.svg
(Zagreb, Croatia, Yugoslavia; 2 April 1940)
as modern Croatia
Flag of Croatia (1990).svg  Croatia 2–1 United States  Flag of the United States.svg
(Zagreb, Croatia, Yugoslavia; 17 October 1990)
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
Appearances5 (first in 1996 )
Best resultQuarter-finals (1996, 2008)

The Croatia national football team (Croatian : Hrvatska nogometna reprezentacija) represents Croatia in international association football matches. The team is controlled by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), the nation's governing body for football, and 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 or though 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.

Croatian language South Slavic language

Croatian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Croatian Football Federation governing body of association football in Croatia

The Croatian Football Federation is the governing body of association football in Croatia. It was originally formed in 1912 and is based in the capital city of Zagreb. The organisation is a member of both FIFA and UEFA, and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the game of football in Croatia. Its current president is Davor Šuker.

Contents

Croatia has represented itself as an independent nation since 1993, when the team was officially recognised by both FIFA and UEFA following dissolution from 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 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia instead. The modern-day team has played competitive matches since 1994, starting with a successful qualifying campaign for the 1996 European Championships. 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.

FIFA International governing body of association football

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is an organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and eFootball. FIFA is responsible for the organization of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women's World Cup which commenced in 1991.

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

Yugoslavia 1918–1992 country in Southeastern and Central Europe

Yugoslavia was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918 under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs with the Kingdom of Serbia, and constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state, following centuries in which the region had been part of the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary. Peter I of Serbia was its first sovereign. The kingdom gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. The official name of the state was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929.

Among other nicknames, the team is colloquially referred to as the Vatreni ("Blazers" or "Fiery Ones") or the Kockasti ("Chequered"). 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.

Croatian checkerboard

Croatian checkerboard or chequy is the national symbol of Croatia and Croats, it covers the main shield of Croatian coat of arms above which is the crown with five smaller shields. Squares are always arranged correctly and they are red and white. It is considered to be one of the oldest national symbols in Europe.

Istria County County in Croatia

Istria County is the westernmost county of Croatia which includes the biggest part of the Istrian peninsula.

UEFA Euro 2000 2000 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2000 UEFA European Football Championship, also known as Euro 2000, was the 11th UEFA European Championship, which is held every four years and organised by UEFA, association football's governing body in Europe.

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.

Uruguay national football team mens national association football team representing Uruguay

The Uruguay national football team represents Uruguay in international association football and is controlled by the Uruguayan Football Association, the governing body for football in Uruguay. The current head coach is Óscar Tabárez. The Uruguayan team is commonly referred to as La Celeste . They have won the Copa América 15 times, the most successful national team in the tournament, the most recent title being the 2011 edition. The team has won the FIFA World Cup twice, including the first World Cup in 1930 as hosts, defeating Argentina 4–2 in the final. They won their second title in 1950, upsetting host Brazil 2–1 in the final match, which received an attendance higher than any football match ever.

Netherlands national football team Mens national association football team representing the Netherlands

The Netherlands national football team has officially represented the Netherlands in international football since its initial match in 1905. The national team is controlled by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), which is a part of UEFA, and under the jurisdiction of FIFA the governing body for football in the Netherlands. Most of the Netherlands' home matches are played at the Johan Cruyff Arena and the Stadion Feijenoord. The team is colloquially referred to as Het Nederlands Elftal or the Oranje, after the House of Orange-Nassau. Like the country itself, the team is sometimes referred to as Holland. The fan club is known as the "Het Legioen".

Colombia national football team mens national football team representing Colombia

The Colombia national football team represents Colombia in international football competitions and is overseen by the Colombian Football Federation. It is a member of the CONMEBOL and is currently ranked 12th in the FIFA World Rankings. The team are nicknamed Los Cafeteros due to the coffee production in their country.

History

Pre-independence

The first recognized Croatian team played against Switzerland in 1940. Croatian first team.jpg
The first recognized Croatian team played against Switzerland in 1940.

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]

Rijeka City in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia

Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia. It is located in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 128,624 inhabitants. Historically, because of its strategic position and its excellent deep-water port, the city was fiercely contested, especially among Italy, Hungary, and Croatia, changing hands and demographics many times over centuries. According to the 2011 census data, the overwhelming majority of its citizens (94.52%) are Croats, along with small numbers of Bosniaks, Italians and Serbs. The city has a strong sense of identity and the autochthonous inhabitants of Rijeka are referred to as Fiumans.

Županja Town in Posavina, Croatia

Županja is a town in eastern Slavonia, Croatia, located 254 km east of Zagreb. It is administratively part of the Vukovar-Srijem County. It is inhabited by 12,090 people (2011).

Kingdom of Yugoslavia Kingdom in southeast Europe between 1918 and 1943

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state in Southeast Europe and Central Europe that existed from 1929 until 1941, during the interwar period and beginning of World War II.

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]

Banovina of Croatia

The Banovina of Croatia or Banate of Croatia was an autonomous province (banovina) of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1939 and 1941. It was formed by combining the Sava Banovina and Littoral Banovina, but also with small parts of the Drina, Zeta, and Danube banovinas. Its capital was Zagreb and it included most of present-day Croatia along with portions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. It included area of 65,456 km2 and had population of 4,024,601. The Ban of the Banovina of Croatia during this period was Ivan Šubašić.

The Switzerland national football team is the national football team of Switzerland. The team is controlled by the Swiss Football Association.

The Hungary national football team represents Hungary in international football and is controlled by the Hungarian Football Federation.

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 archenemies Yugoslavia (the rump state 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 2001 international season. CroaciavsSuica2004.JPG
Croatian football fans during the 2001 international season.

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. [note 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 turbofolk 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] [57] 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. [58] [59] [60] 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. [61] [62] 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), [note 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). [63] [64] [65] [66]

Following the tournament, Bilić renewed his contract, becoming the first manager since Blažević to lead Croatia to successive tournaments. [67] 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. [68] After a home win against Kazakhstan Croatia lost at home to England, ending a 14-year unbeaten home record. [69] [70] The team was eventually weakened due to a number of key players' injuries and went on to suffer their heaviest 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. [71] 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. [72]

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. [73] [74] 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. [75] 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. [76] 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. [77] In their second match, Croatia won 4–0 against Cameroon, [78] but did not progress from the group as they lost 3–1 to Mexico in their final fixture. [79] [80]

In the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Croatia were drawn against Italy, Bulgaria, Norway, Azerbaijan and Malta. [81] Following a goalless away draw against Azerbaijan and an away defeat to Norway, [82] in early September 2015, the Executive Committee of the Croatian Football Federation unanimously decided to terminate Kovač's contract. [83] On 21 September 2015, Ante Čačić was named head coach of the Croatian national team. [84] On 13 October 2015, Croatia qualified for the finals by finishing as runners-up in Group H. [85] Under Čačić, Croatia broke the record for most goals scored in one match after defeating San Marino 10–0 in a friendly. [86]

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. [87] [88] [89] 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. [90] [91] 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. [92] [93] After the match, Croatia were tipped as one of the tournament favourites, [94] [95] and drew Portugal in the round of 16, who surprisingly finished third in the group, advancing only as the third-best third-placed team. [96] 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. [97] 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. [98] [99]

Dalić's second "golden generation" (2017–2019)

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. [100] [101] He was quickly replaced by Zlatko Dalić, who led the team to a crucial 2–0 win against Ukraine in Kiev, [102] securing a spot in the playoff round against Greece. Croatia went on to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after beating Greece 4–1, with all goals coming in the first leg in Zagreb. [103] [104]

In the buildup to the tournament, The Guardian , among other news outlets, labelled the 2017–18 squad as Croatia's second golden generation. [105] [106] 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. [107] [108] [109] 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. [110] [111] 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. [112] [113] [114] Croatia then defeated Iceland to top the group with maximum points, marking their best ever performance in the group stages of the World Cup. [115] [116]

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. [117] [118] [119] 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. [120] [121] [122]

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. [123] [124] Mario Mandžukić eventually scored as Croatia won 2–1, making them the second-smallest country by population to reach the World Cup final (after Uruguay in 1930). [125] [126] [127] The win sparked massive celebrations across the country, as reported by several media outlets. [128] [129]

In the buildup to the final, Croatian parliamentary members, including president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, wore football jerseys in support of the team. [130] [131] Online searches for the team also reached their highest level in history, as the Croatian tourist board reported a 250% increase in website visits. [132] Due to tournament structure, France received an extra day of rest before the final [133] which promoted many, most notably football manager Jose Mourinho, to label the final "unfair" and deserving of "equal opportunities". [134] [135] Croatia eventually lost the final 4–2 to France, where a controversial free kick was awarded to France for a dive by Antoine Griezmann, as well as controversial penalty later in the game awarded by the video assistant referee (VAR) for a handball by Perisić. [136] 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 greeted by an estimated half a million people at their homecoming in the capital of Zagreb. [137]

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. [138] [139] 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. [140] Croatia drew 0–0 home with England. [141] The match was played behind closed doors due to UEFA punishment. [142] In the next match against Spain, Croatia won 3–2 home due to a goal in stoppage time. [143] But due to 2–1 away loss against England, Croatia placed last in the group and got relegated to League B of the next edition of the Nations League. [144] Although they were by far outnumbered by England fans, Croatia fans could be heard louder, chanting "Vukovar! Vukovar!" among other things, due to the fact that the match was played on 27th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar, the biggest tragedy of Croatian War of Independence. [145]

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. [146] Croatia started their qualifying campaign poorly by narrowly winning on 21 March by the score of 2–1 against much weaker Azerbaijan and narrowly losing on 24 March by the same score to Hungary. [147] [148] The defeat against Hungary officially marked the end of the "golden generation". [149]

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. [150] [151] [152] Although there have been many slight variations made by the kit manufacturers since the original release, the traditional chequered theme has remained a symbol of national identity, with similar incorporation used by many other Croatian national sports teams and entities. [17]

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. [153] 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. [154] 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. [155]

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. [156] Both sets of fans—the Bad Blue Boys of Zagreb and The Torcida from Split—have been associated with hooliganism due to their ultra-style support, [157] [158] though violence between them does not occur at international matches. Heavy support for the Croatian national team also comes from Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly from fans of Zrinjski Mostar. [159] There are also considerable Croatian communities in Australia, North America, and South America that follow the team. [160] [161] 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 mantra. When the team wins, supporters often chant "Bježite ljudi, bježite iz grada" (beware people, move away from here), which is a song praising the large presence of euphoric Croatian fans. [162] The Croatian Football Federation endorses an official fan club for the team, known as Uvijek Vjerni (Always Faithful). [163]

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. [164] [165] Other Croatian artists such as Dino Dvornik, Connect, Prljavo Kazalište and Baruni have also recorded songs praising the team. The most widely used among supporters are "Malo nas je al nas ima" (We are few, but we exist), "Samo je jedno" (There is but one thing [in my life]), "Moja Domovina" (My Homeland), "Srce vatreno" (Fiery Heart), and "Hrvatska je prvak svijeta" (Croatia are World Champions). 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. [166] (This penalty is commonly referred to as a "ghost game", which is played by the teams but which has no audience.) [167] [168] [169] There have also been reports of minor clashes involving Croatian fans at various tournaments, leading to further sanctions imposed by FIFA and UEFA. [170] [171]

There are often fears of particular violence during matches against Serbia, such as the politically-fuelled football riot following the 1990 parliamentary election. [172] 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. [173] 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. [174] [175]

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 Zagreb. The venue, built in 1912 and refurbished in 1997, is named after the surrounding neighbourhood of Maksimir and has hosted national team games since Croatia's competitive home debut against Lithuania. [176] 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 Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić in 2008 due to high construction costs. [176] [177] [178]

Some home matches are occasionally played at other, smaller venues around the country. The Poljud Stadium 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. [179] Qualifying fixtures have also been played at the Stadion Kantrida in Rijeka, along with the Gradski vrt stadium 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. [180]

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.

Key: Pld–games played, W–games won, D–games drawn; L–games lost, %–win percentage

StadiumCity / townPldWDLWin %Last match hosted
Stadion Maksimir Zagreb 6444155068.82019
Stadion Poljud Split 12174008.32015
Stadion Kantrida Rijeka 111010090.92011
Stadion Gradski vrt Osijek 11920081.82018
Stadion A. Herjavec Varaždin 7520071.42015
Stadion A. Drosina Pula 4301075.02014
Stadion Rujevica Rijeka 4220050.02018
Stadion Cibalia Vinkovci 1100100.02009
Stadion Kranjčevićeva Zagreb 1100100.01996
Stadion Šubićevac Šibenik 1010000.02003
Stadion Koprivnica Koprivnica 1100100.02016
Totals11777301065.8%&

Last updated: Croatia vs. Azerbaijan, 21 March 2019. Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.

Rivalries

Flag of Croatia and Serbia.svg
Croatia and Serbia, belligerents during the violent Yugoslav Wars, have developed a fierce rivalry.
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.
Wembley Stadium interior.jpg
Croatia were the first team to defeat England at Wembley Stadium (pictured). Two years later, England beat Croatia 5–1 at the same venue, which was Croatia's one of heaviest defeats in the modern era.

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. Here are the team's most notable opponents:

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup

Croatia qualified for and competed in three consecutive World Cup tournaments between 1998 and 2006, but failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after finishing 3rd in Group 6 behind England and Ukraine. Although they had joined both FIFA and UEFA by 1992, they were unable to enter the 1994 World Cup as qualification had started before the side was officially recognised as a state. [217] In the following three World Cup groups they were eliminated after finishing third in all of them, before finally advancing further than the group stage at the 2018 World Cup. [218] On 11 July 2018, Croatia won their semi-final match against England, advancing the national team to their first FIFA World Cup final wherein they secured second place as runners-up against winners France. [219] Supplanting their third place positioning in 1998, this is the nation's best performance to date. [220]

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks; correct as of 26 June 2018 after the match against Iceland.
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.
FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGASquadPosPldWDLGFGA
19301990 Part of Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia
Flag of the United States.svg 1994 Did not enter
Flag of France.svg 1998 Third place 3rd 7502115 Squad 2nd105412013
Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg Flag of Japan.svg 2002 Group stage 23rd 310223 Squad 1st8530152
Flag of Germany.svg 2006 22nd 302123 Squad 1st10730215
Flag of South Africa.svg 2010 Did not qualify3rd106221913
Flag of Brazil.svg 2014 Group stage 19th 310266 Squad 2nd12633149
Flag of Russia.svg 2018 Runners-up 2nd 7421149 Squad 2nd12732195
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
TotalRunners-up5/62311483526623618810847
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks

UEFA European Championship

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks; correct as of 25 June 2016 (Croatia v. Portugal).
UEFA European Championship record/UEFA European Championship qualifying
YearRoundPositionPldWDLGFGASquadPosPldWDLGFGA
1960 to 1992 Part of Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia
Flag of England.svg 1996 Quarter-final7th420255 Squad 1st10721225
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg 2000 Did not qualify3rd8431139
Flag of Portugal.svg 2004 Group stage13th302146 Squad 2nd10622145
Flag of Austria.svg Flag of Switzerland.svg 2008 Quarter-final5th431052 Squad 1st12921288
Flag of Poland.svg Flag of Ukraine.svg 2012 Group stage10th311143 Squad 2nd12822217
Flag of France.svg 2016 Round of 169th421154 Squad 2nd10631205
Flag of Europe.svg 2020 To be determinedTo be determined
Flag of Germany.svg 2024
TotalQuarter-final5/6188552320624014811839

UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League
YearDivisionGroupRoundPosPldWDLGFGA
2018–19 A 4 Group stage (3rd)
Relegated
9th4112410
2020–21 B To be determined
TotalGroup stage
League A
1/14112410

All-time team records

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. [221] [222] [223] 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. [224] The team's oldest player is Dražen Ladić, who played his last match in May 2000 aged 37 years, 4 months and 27 days. [225]

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 heaviest 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.

Head-to-head record

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

Only matches recognised by FIFA [226] are counted. Correct as of 24 March 2019, after the match against Hungary.

Notes
  1. Legend: In each final tournament of the World Cup and the European Championship (shown in bold), Croatia has played one match against the respective opponent, while in each qualifying tournament and each Nations League edition, it has played two matches against the respective opponent. Friendly matches and minor tournaments are counted in the table but are not shown in this column.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Includes one or more matches played in the 1940s.
  3. Includes two matches against Flag of Yugoslavia (1992-2003).svg  FR Yugoslavia (later renamed as Serbia and Montenegro).

FIFA ranking history

The following is a chart of yearly averages of Croatia's FIFA ranking. [227] 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 immediately after the tournament, making it the most volatile team in FIFA Rankings history. It held that rank until February 1999. [228] [229]

Croatia national football team

Recent results and fixtures

2018

2019

Personnel

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
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
Condition coach Flag of Croatia.svg Luka Milanović
Physiotherapists Flag of Croatia.svg Nenad Krošnjar
Flag of Croatia.svg Mario Petrović
Flag of Croatia.svg Nderim Redžaj
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

Players

Current squad

The following is the list of players for the Euro 2020 qualifying games against Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan on 21 March and Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary on 24 March 2019. [231] [232]
Caps and goals as of 24 March 2019 after match against Hungary, only matches as FIFA member are included.

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
121 GK Lovre Kalinić (1990-04-03) 3 April 1990 (age 29)180 Flag of England.svg Aston Villa
11 GK Dominik Livaković (1995-01-09) 9 January 1995 (age 24)30 Flag of Croatia.svg Dinamo Zagreb
231 GK Simon Sluga (1993-03-17) 17 March 1993 (age 26)00 Flag of Croatia.svg Rijeka

212 DF Domagoj Vida (1989-04-29) 29 April 1989 (age 30)734 Flag of Turkey.svg Beşiktaş
62 DF Dejan Lovren (1989-07-05) 5 July 1989 (age 29)512 Flag of England.svg Liverpool
162 DF Tin Jedvaj (1995-11-28) 28 November 1995 (age 23)192 Flag of Germany.svg Bayer Leverkusen
32 DF Borna Barišić (1992-11-10) 10 November 1992 (age 26)61 Flag of Scotland.svg Rangers
222 DF Marin Leovac (1988-08-07) 7 August 1988 (age 30)50 Flag of Croatia.svg Dinamo Zagreb
52 DF Duje Ćaleta-Car (1996-09-17) 17 September 1996 (age 22)30 Flag of France.svg Marseille
2 DF Antonio Milić (1994-03-10) 10 March 1994 (age 25)30 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Anderlecht
2 DF Karlo Bartolec (1995-04-20) 20 April 1995 (age 24)10 Flag of Denmark.svg Nordsjælland

103 MF Luka Modrić (Captain) (1985-09-09) 9 September 1985 (age 33)12014 Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid
73 MF Ivan Rakitić (1988-03-10) 10 March 1988 (age 31)10415 Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona
83 MF Mateo Kovačić (1994-05-06) 6 May 1994 (age 24)501 Flag of England.svg Chelsea
113 MF Marcelo Brozović (1992-11-16) 16 November 1992 (age 26)456 Flag of Italy.svg Internazionale
193 MF Milan Badelj (1989-02-25) 25 February 1989 (age 30)452 Flag of Italy.svg Lazio
173 MF Marko Rog (1995-07-19) 19 July 1995 (age 23)160 Flag of Spain.svg Sevilla
153 MF Mario Pašalić (1995-02-09) 9 February 1995 (age 24)80 Flag of Italy.svg Atalanta
143 MF Filip Bradarić (1992-01-11) 11 January 1992 (age 27)60 Flag of Italy.svg Cagliari
133 MF Nikola Vlašić (1997-10-04) 4 October 1997 (age 21)50 Flag of Russia.svg CSKA Moscow

44 FW Ivan Perišić (1989-02-02) 2 February 1989 (age 30)8022 Flag of Italy.svg Internazionale
94 FW Andrej Kramarić (1991-06-19) 19 June 1991 (age 27)4413 Flag of Germany.svg Hoffenheim
184 FW Ante Rebić (1993-09-21) 21 September 1993 (age 25)283 Flag of Germany.svg Eintracht Frankfurt
24 FW Josip Brekalo (1998-06-23) 23 June 1998 (age 20)40 Flag of Germany.svg Wolfsburg
204 FW Bruno Petković (1994-09-16) 16 September 1994 (age 24)20 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
GK Karlo Letica (1997-02-11) 11 February 1997 (age 22)00 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Club Brugge v. Flag of England.svg  England , 18 November 2018

DF Šime Vrsaljko INJ (1992-01-10) 10 January 1992 (age 27)450 Flag of Italy.svg Internazionale v. Flag of England.svg  England , 18 November 2018
DF Josip Pivarić INJ (1989-01-30) 30 January 1989 (age 30)260 Flag of Ukraine.svg Dynamo Kyiv v. Flag of England.svg  England , 18 November 2018
DF Matej Mitrović INJ (1993-11-10) 10 November 1993 (age 25)122 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Club Brugge v. Flag of England.svg  England , 18 November 2018
DF Ivan Strinić (1987-07-17) 17 July 1987 (age 31)490 Flag of Italy.svg Milan 2018 FIFA World Cup
DF Zoran Nižić (1989-10-11) 11 October 1989 (age 29)20 Flag of Russia.svg Akhmat Grozny 2018 FIFA World Cup PRE
DF Borna Sosa INJ (1998-01-21) 21 January 1998 (age 21)00 Flag of Germany.svg VfB Stuttgart 2018 FIFA World Cup PRE

FW Marko Pjaca INJ (1995-05-06) 6 May 1995 (age 23)241 Flag of Italy.svg Fiorentina v. Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan , 21 March 2019
FW Ivan Santini (1989-05-21) 21 May 1989 (age 29)50 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Anderlecht v. Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan , 15 October 2018
FW Marko Livaja (1993-08-26) 26 August 1993 (age 25)40 Flag of Greece.svg AEK Athens v. Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan , 15 October 2018
FW Duje Čop (1990-02-01) 1 February 1990 (age 29)142 Flag of Spain.svg Valladolid v. Flag of England.svg  England , 12 October 2018
FW Nikola Kalinić (1988-01-05) 5 January 1988 (age 31)4115 Flag of Spain.svg Atlético Madrid 2018 FIFA World Cup REM

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 2006–12014
3 Stipe Pletikosa 1999–20141140
4 Josip Šimunić 2001–20131053
5 Ivica Olić 2002–201510420
Ivan Rakitić 2007–10415
6 Vedran Ćorluka 2006–20181034
8 Dario Šimić 1996–20081003
9 Mario Mandžukić 2007–20188933
10 Robert Kovač 1999–2009840

Last updated: Hungary vs. Croatia, 24 March 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 Darijo Srna 2002–201622134
Ivan Perišić 2011–80
6 Ivica Olić 2002–201520104
7 Niko Kranjčar 2004–20131681
8 Goran Vlaović 1992–20021552
Nikola Kalinić 2007–42
Ivan Rakitić 2007–104

Last updated: Hungary vs. Croatia, 24 March 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 Croatia.svg Dražan Jerković 1990–19913300100.0&
Flag of Croatia.svg Stanko Poklepović 19924112025.0&
Flag of Croatia.svg Vlatko Marković 1993–19941100100.0&
Flag of Croatia.svg Miroslav Blažević 1994–200072332415045.8 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) [note 4] 19941100100.0&
Flag of Croatia.svg Mirko Jozić 2000–200218963050.0 Symbol confirmed.svg 2002 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Otto Barić 2002–2004241185045.8 Symbol confirmed.svg 2004 European Championship  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Zlatko Kranjčar 2004–2006251186044.0 Symbol confirmed.svg 2006 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Slaven Bilić 2006–20126542158064.6 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 2012–201315825053.3&
Flag of Croatia.svg Niko Kovač 2013–2015191054052.6 Symbol confirmed.svg 2014 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Croatia.svg Ante Čačić 2015–2017251564060.0 Symbol confirmed.svg 2016 European Championship  – Round of 16
Flag of Croatia.svg Zlatko Dalić 2017–221156050.0 Symbol confirmed.svg 2018 World Cup  – Runners-up
Totals294156805653.1%10 out of 12

Last updated: Hungary vs. Croatia, 24 March 2019.

Source: Croatian Football Federation

Honours

Minor tournaments

Other awards

See also

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The England women's national football team has been governed by the Football Association (FA) since 1993, having been previously administered by the Women's Football Association (WFA). England played its first international match in November 1972 against Scotland. Although most national football teams represent a sovereign state, as a member of the United Kingdom's Home Nations, England is permitted by FIFA statutes to maintain its own national side that competes in all major tournaments, with the exception of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament.

Luka Modrić Croatian professional footballer, midfield

Luka Modrić is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and is the captain of the Croatia national team. Modrić plays mainly as a central midfielder but can also play as an attacking midfielder or as a defensive midfielder, usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker. Modrić is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, and the greatest Croatian footballer of all-time.

Ivan Rakitić Croatian footballer

Ivan Rakitić is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a central or attacking midfielder for Spanish club Barcelona and the Croatia national team.

Vedran Ćorluka Croatian footballer

Vedran Ćorluka is a Croatian footballer who plays for and captains Lokomotiv Moscow and played for the Croatia national team. He plays as a centre-back, though he has played in other positions across the defensive line, most notably as a right-back.

Milan Badelj is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Lazio and the Croatia national team. He is a member of the Croatian squad which finished as runners-up to France in 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Danijel Subašić Croatian association football player

Danijel Subašić is a Croatian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Monaco and the Croatia national team.

Russia national football team mens national association football team representing Russia

The Russia national football team represents Russia in association football and is controlled by the Russian Football Union, the governing body for football in Russia. Russia is a member of UEFA, they won the first edition of the respective continental competition in 1960 as the Soviet Union.

Croatia at the FIFA World Cup

Croatia national football team have appeared in the FIFA World Cup on five occasions since gaining independence in 1991. Before that, from 1930 to 1990 Croatia was part of Yugoslavia. Their best result thus far was reaching the 2018 final, where they lost 4-2 to France.

References

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