The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar runs from November 21 through December 18 and sees 32 nations compete for the chance to be crowned world champions and to be able to lift the famous Jules Rimet Trophy aloft. Croatia qualified for the 2022 World Cup with ease and is looking to go one place better than at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they were runners-up to France.
Croatia sailed through the group stages of the 2018 World Cup, winning all three games against Nigeria, Iceland, and much-fancied Argentina. They then defeated Denmark on penalties in the Round of 16, setting up a quarter-finals clash with host nation Russia. Croatia progressed to the semi-finals after another penalty shootout. England awaited Croatia in the semis.
England was the clear favorite to navigate their way to the final, but Croatia had different ideas. Croatian fans checked out the BetUS review and backed their beloved national team to defeat the Three Lions. England went ahead in the fifth minute through a Kieran Trippier goal, but Ivan Perisic equalized in the 68th minute to send the tie into extra time. Here, a 108th-minute strike from Mario Madzukic proved enough to eliminate England and see Croatia reach their first major final.
Favourites France were Croatia’s opponents in the final, and they proved too strong for Zlatko Dalic’s men, with France running out 4-2 winners and winning the World Cup for the second time.
Route to the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Croatia found themselves in UEFA Group H as they attempted to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. They battled with Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Russia. Seven victories, two draws, and a solitary defeat (a shock at the hands of Slovenia) saw the Vatreni top the group with ease.
They find themselves in Group F, locking horns with Belgium, Canada, and Morocco. It is a difficult group on paper, but one that Croatia should progress from. Canada will be full of confidence, having qualified for their first World Cup since 1986. Although they are hard-working, Canada lacks any stand-out players, with the exception of Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies.
Morocco should be a relatively easy game for Croatia. They are ranked only eight places below Croatia in the FIFA World Rankings, but that is because they win many of their games against lowly opponents. For example, Morocco has recently played against the likes of Malawi, Comoros, and Liberia. They should not pose much of a threat.
Belgium is the favorite to win the group, thanks to being a team brimming with talent. However, the Belgians have a strong squad that does not ever seem to be able to bring it all together when it matters the most. This is likely the last World Cup for Belgium’s so-called “Golden Generation” of players, which could mean they up their game one last time.
The Current Croatia Squad
The Croatian squad is a fine mixture of vastly experienced players with some new faces freshening things up. Again, much of anything positive will go through the talismanic Luca Modric, who is still playing at a ridiculously high level despite being 36 years old. Ivan Perisic, who recently joined Englis Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur, is another key player, as is veteran defender Domagoj Vida.
Croatia will not concede many goals but lacks an out-and-out natural goalscorer. There is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Andrej Kramaric, who has 19 goals in 71 appearances. Kramaric struggled for form during the season just gone, scoring only six goals in 32 games for German Bundesliga outfit 1899 Hoffenheim.
With Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mateo Kovacic in midfield, Croatia should create plenty of chances for the front three. If, and it is an if, that trio can find their shooting boots, Croatia has every chance of causing a major upset in Qatar.