Croatia go to Brazil with the 2nd youngest coach in ex-player Niko Kovac – but one of their strongest ever squads. Mario Mandzukic is banned for the first game, but Ivica Olic and Eduardo are good enough to fill the gap against Brazil on June 12th. Here is their squad:
GK’s: Stipe Pletikosa, Danijel Subasic, Oliver Zelenika
DF’s: Darijo Srna, Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Gordon Schildenfeld, Danijel Pranjic, Domagoj Vida, Sime Vrsaljko
MF’s: Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ognjen Vukojevic, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Sammir, Ivan Mocinic
FW’s: Mario Mandzukic, Ivica Olic, Eduardo, Nikica Jelavic, Ante Rebic
Croatia finished 2nd in their group behind Belgium, winning 5 of their 10 games. With the likes of Scotland, Wales and Macedonia in the group it was hardly challenging, but they fought off Serbia for 2nd and then defeated Iceland 2-0 in their playoff game.
Ones to Watch:
Luka Modric – the pinnacle of the Croatia midfield, a creative man that mops up and mess in front on defence and turns the ball forward. A massive player for them!
Ivan Rakitic – the Sevilla man is wanted all around Europe, with his Father saying that Barcelona, Real and Atletico all want his services. He and Modric hold the key for the Croats.
Mateo Kovacic – After his first season at Inter, Mateo has earned a call up to the world cup. The ex-Zagreb man is an attacking threat that combined with the two above could be brilliant to watch.
(4-2-3-1): Pletikosa, Srna, Lovren, Schindelfeld, Pranjic. Rakitic, Modric, Kovacic, Perisic, Olic, Mandzukic.
A good lineup, although Mandzukic is suspended for game 1. Sime Vrsaljko would probably get in the team if it wasn’t for Dario Srna, a top talent at Right Back. The midfield trio are vital to any chances they have of getting out of the group phase.
Winner – 200/1
Group Winner – 8/1
To Qualify – 11/10
Stage of Elimination: Round of 16 – 6/5
Over 3.5 Group Points – Evens
We fancy Croatia to get out of the groups, with Mexico being rather good but they have big flaws in the team. Top Tip is Croatia to Qualify at 11/10, and Over 3.5 Points at Evens.