World Cup 2014 team preview – Croatia

Manager: Niko Kovač
Captain – Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Croatia is simply has talent , its hard to imagine they got a world cup spot not on qualifying but on a playoff spot. Croatia also brought youth in its current squad with the 6 players just under 23. If they get things going , its going be difficult for other teams to play them.

Notable Strength – The midfield of Croatia could be their major strength. Boosting the midfield are probably La Liga top none Spanish midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.  Also adding up to the mix is the emerging Mateo Kovačić.

Notable Weakness – Even with the talent of Crotia , its hard to predict whether they will show up that quality and produce the results.

Projected Starting XI

 

 

 

Goalkeeper-  Stipe Pletikosa is a favorite to start due to his experience , but this time Danijel Subašić would be starting for Croatia.

Defender  – Dejan Lovren has proved himself to be excellent central defender at club level , starting with him at defense will be Vedran Ćorluka.  Joining them  at defense playing at Right Back and Left Back are the vastly experienced Danijel Pranjić and captain Darijo Srna

 

Midfielder – Vatreni Midfield will be composed of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic (Now Barcelona ?)  And Inter Milan’s rising star  Mateo Kovačić. This midfield could be tough to handle with their technical abilities. Modric should be one of the worlds premier playmakers , while Ivan Rakitic prove himself to very useful at Sevilla’s. While Modric and Rakitic are established names on that Midfield , Kovačić could also ease pressure from both and could be the trump card of the midfield trio. Ognjen Vukojević could also be deployed at defensive midfield. While winger Ivan Perišić could provide width for the team.

Forward –  Croatia forward line will be missing Mario Mandžukić , but for one game only. Mandžukić should score goals for Croatia  provided  its vastly talented or “should be” influential midfield.  If Mandžukić  fails to deliver , there’s Eduardo and we will see if “telepathic understanding” between him and Luka Modric still exist.  Nikica Jelavić seems to be in form in club level.  In case they need another big winner on crucial matches , they could give veteran Ivica Olić  a chance.

 

Key Player –  Luka Modric Vision, touch, composure and incisiveness which allows him the ability to dictate the pace of the game
, probably Croatia’s best player. He should provide creativity on that midfield.  He partnered before with current manager Niko Kovač , now he should play the lead role on that midfield. If Modric and croatia  keeps things going , he should be one of the midfield stars in this world cup.

Notable Missing players – vastly experienced Josip Šimunić did miss the squad , even though  its been a while since he’s included in the set up .Niko Kranjčar is probably one of the notable names that is missing on the final 23.

Surprise – Mateo Kovačić should be a surprise given his age , but given his talent that wouldn’t be a question. If Croatia makes things work ,  most probably Kovačić will play a crucial part on it. If Kovačić is not a surprise the surprise  would go to Fiorentina’s forward Ante Rebić  .  Ivan Močinić and Marcelo Brozović will provide youth to team as both are 21 but given Modric , Rakitic and  Kovačić on that midfield its very hard them to find playing time.

 

One to Watch –  Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic is the core of the midfield , but Mateo Kovačić is the one to watch for croatia.

Young Star – Croatia brought a young squad with Oliver Zelenika (Goalkeeper) , Right Back Šime Vrsaljko. Midfielders Marcelo Brozović , Ivan Močinić and Mateo Kovačić.  And forward Ante Rebić. Of the youngsters it seems that Mateo Kovačić will likely to have the biggest impact.

 

Projection

A Quarter final spot would be a excellent achievement for Croatia . Making it out of group stage is the least that Croatia could do. Not making it to round 16 could be disappointment for Croatia but failing to grab a win or point could be considered a failure.

 

 

Complete Squad

# Pos. Player age Caps Goals Club
1 GK Stipe Pletikosa 35 110 0 Russia Rostov
12 GK Oliver Zelenika 21 0 0 Croatia Lokomotiva
23 GK Danijel Subašić 29 6 0 Monaco Monaco
2 DF Šime Vrsaljko 22 6 0 Italy Genoa
3 DF Danijel Pranjić 32 48 0 Greece Panathinaikos
5 DF Vedran Ćorluka 28 72 4 Russia Lokomotiv Moscow
6 DF Dejan Lovren 24 23 2 England Southampton
11 DF Darijo Srna (captain) 32 112 21 Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk
13 DF Gordon Schildenfeld 29 21 0 Greece Panathinaikos
21 DF Domagoj Vida 25 23 1 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv
4 MF Ivan Perišić 25 28 3 Germany Wolfsburg
7 MF Ivan Rakitić 26 61 9 Spain Sevilla
8 MF Ognjen Vukojević 30 55 4 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv
10 MF Luka Modrić 28 74 8 Spain Real Madrid
14 MF Marcelo Brozović 21 0 0 Croatia Dinamo Zagreb
15 MF Ivan Močinić 21 0 0 Croatia Rijeka
19 MF Sammir 27 5 0 Spain Getafe
20 MF Mateo Kovačić 20 9 0 Italy Internazionale
9 FW Nikica Jelavić 28 33 5 England Hull City
16 FW Ante Rebić 20 4 1 Italy Fiorentina
17 FW Mario Mandžukić 28 49 13 Germany Bayern Munich
18 FW Ivica Olić 34 91 18 Germany Wolfsburg
22 FW Eduardo 31 63 29 Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk

 

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