All about the Croatia Team at Football World Cup 2018

Perhaps not traditionally considered as one of the great footballing nations in the world, the Croatian national team has certainly established itself in recent years as one of the 'ones to watch' in the world of football, with superstar players emerging, like, for example, Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Ivan Rakitic, of Barcelona, amongst many other players who compete competitively in some of the worlds best leagues. The national team has, strictly speaking, only been around since 1990, as before, it was part of Yugoslavia, before becoming independent. Since then, this 'new' team has only failed to qualify for one world cup, in 2010 and one European championship, in 2000.

Tips for Betting on Croatia in the World Cup 2018

In this day and age, there are many things to bet on and many options to consider. In terms of outright winners of the World Cup, Croatia are about as far back as an outside bet should be. It is not completely unfeasible that they could actually win the World Cup and stranger things have certainly happened in the past. The likes of Panama for example, or other teams such as Australia, South Korea and Costa Rica are simply proud to be at the World Cup and it is a great achievement for such nations to be involved in the tournament, by contrast, Croatia are there as real and valid competitors, with some world class players in their starting line up. They have also come fairly close to this before, coming third place in 1998, which for a team that was only created 8 years prior to this, is very impressive indeed.

With that being said, Croatia have a fairly tough group in group D, with Argentina, who will be the favourites to take the group, as well as Iceland, who showed excellent character to beat England in Euro 2016 and Nigeria who have also shown promise in the African cup of Nations. With that being said, they should beat Iceland and Nigeria, however, when betting, it is important to take in and consider their style of play.

They have a world class midfield, with the creative talents of both Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, who are sure to rack up some assists, if fit to play. The team also has two accomplished strikers in Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic and so when playing lesser teams, betting on them to score would be a good option.

Despite having Dejan Lovren of Liverpool at the back, the whole team has the weakness of not having a good, solid defensive minded midfielder and so this can be one of their weaknesses and so when betting, a clean sheet for Croatia, particularly against teams with a tendency to score goals may not be the wisest move.

Betting Odds on Croatia to Win the World Cup 2018

As of right now, the odds of Croatia to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia are roughly 35/1, with the highest odds, provided by a bookkeeper being around 40/1, whilst the lowest odds being around 33/1.

They are what most bookmakers have down as the 10th favourite to win the World Cup, with Germany being the favourites to win and retain their status as world champions, at just 9/2. Ahead of them also, in order are; Brazil, France, Spain, Argentina, Belgium, England, European champions Portugal and Uruguay. The Russian national team also has similar odds and chances of winning the World Cup, as does Poland.

Expected Croatia Lineup at the World Cup

The current number one for the team is debatable who it will be for the 2018 World Cup. They have a very experienced keeper in Danijel Subasic, who is currently 33 and plays for French high flyers Monaco, however, a young keeper called Dominik Livakovic is also starting to edge his way into the national team, who currently plays for Dynamo Zagreb, the favourite at the moment to feature will most likely be Subasic.

The experience of Vida, with 55 caps, who plays his football for Besiktas, as well as Liverpool centre-back will most likely feature at the tournament, with Lovren playing centre back, Vida could also play at fullback, with competition from Sime Vrsajiko at right back. They also have veteran and experience in the likes of Srna, Pranjic and Corluka, who could all feature at the back.

If they are fit enough and not injured, the first names on the team sheet are Ivan Rakitic and the captain, Luka Modric, both of which play centrally in midfield, with Luka Modric normally spearheading the midfield, in the number 10 role. Joining them could be emerging talent Kovacic, making for a very strong midfield indeed. Another emerging talent, much like Kovacic, is Marcelo Brozovic, of Internazionale, a teammate of Ivan Perisic, who likes to score goals in midfield and has already got 6 goals in 32 caps for his country.

In terms of the wingers, Croatia tend to deploy Ivan Perisic on the left wing, who will cut inside and shoot, whilst on the other wing, they have options such as Nikola Kalinic, who, like Ivan Perisic, is also a centre-forward, or Marko Pjaca.

The starting striker, again, if fully fit for the tournament will be the massively talented and experienced Mario Mandzukic, of Juventus, who has scored an impressive 30 goals for his country, in 81 appearances, a good conversion rate in international football.

The team will normally play either a 4-1-4-1 formation or sometimes a 4-2-3-1, both choosing to opt for one striker and allow them to dominate in midfield. The countries best players all play in central positions for the club (Lovren, Modric, Mandzukic) and therefore their style is dictated by the need to get these players on the ball as much as possible. The main playmaker on the team, is the captain, Luka Modric and by deploying 3 central midfielders, this gives the team more possession of the ball in order for him to pick out more decisive and key passes within the final third.

The lone striker, Mario Mandzukic, is a big physical presence and a goal poacher, who relies on service from the wingers in order to score goals. Here comes some potential weakness, as the wingers normally deployed are not natural wingers and instead prefer to cut in, like Perisic, who is a natural striker and have a shot themselves, which is another outlet to try and break teams down.

  • Luka Modric

    As touched on, Luka Modric, the captain is the best player Croatia currently have and one of the best midfielders in the world. He is currently 32, so possibly does not have the mobility of a few years ago, however, he is an integral part of the Champions league winning Real Madrid side and has also impressed in the Premier league, years ago when playing for Tottenham.

  • Mario Mandzukic

    Mario Mandzukic, also mentioned, is a prolific goal scorer for the club and is currently 31 and playing for Juventus in Serie A, he is still capable of goals, as long as he can get the correct service.

  • Ivan Rakitic

    Another world class player at their disposal is, of course, Ivan Rakitic, who has become a key player for Barcelona in recent years and is also capable of scoring goals from midfield. At 29, he is also an experienced player, winning 88 caps for his country, his cooperation with Luka Modric is vital for Croatia to win matches.