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February 21, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Croatia (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Croatia, with 4 other player-options listed).




Croatia national team. UEFA (Europe). Nickname: Vatreni (the Blazers). Home jersey: red-and-white checkerboard; blue pants.
-Croatia is in Group A (with Brazil, Cameroon, and Mexico), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group A‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is Croatia’s 4th qualification out of 5 tries. [1930 to 1990, competed as part of Yugoslavia; 1994, could not enter.]
Croatia has qualified for the World Cup in: 1998, 2002, 2006, 2014.

Previous WC finish: 2006, Group Stage (0-2-1). Highest WC finish: 1998, Third Place (5-0-2).

Population of Croatia: 4.2 million {2011 census}. Capital and largest city: Zagreb, pop. 1.1 million (metro area) {2011 census}.

-Croatia coach, Niko Kovač. Niko Kovač. Besides a long career in the Bundesliga (with Hertha Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburger SV, and Bayern Munich), Kovac had 84 caps as a MF for Croatia, from 1996 to 2008. After retiring as a Red Bull Salzburg player in 2009, Kovac became a coach at that Austrian club’s academy. In January 2013, he and his brother Robert Kovac became dual-coaches of the Croatia U-21 team. Nine months later in October 2013, Niko Kovac (with his brother along as an assistant coach) replaced Igor Štimac as Croatia national team coach. Stimac was sacked after Croatia slouched its way into the World Cup qualifiers’ playoffs, having taken only one point from their last four qualifiers. Croatia then beat Iceland 2-0 aggregate in the playoffs, to give Croatia the much-enviable and rather impressive record of 4 World Cup qualifications in 5 attempts. Impressive, because Croatia is a nation of only about 4.2 million people.
-Croatia squad captain, Darijo Srna. Darijo Srna is a Right Back/Right Midfielder known for his crossing ability and free-kick prowess. Srna, age 31, is the most-capped Croatia player, with 110 appearances. Getting his start with Croatian side Hajduk Split, he has, since 2003, played professionally for the Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, with whom he helped win the 2008-09 UEFA Cup title.

Below: Theoretical Best XI for Croatia (with 4 other player-options listed further below) -
croatia_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
Croatia home jersey badge, photo from pjwapparel.com/2012-2014-Croatia-Home-Jersey.
Croatia 2012-14 home jersey, photo from pjwapparel.com.
Map of Croatia on globe, by TUBS at ‘File:Croatia on the globe (Europe centered).svg‘ (commons.wikipedia.org) .
Map of Croatia, by NordNordWest at ‘File:Croatia location map.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Coach,,
Niko Kovač, photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Goalkeeper,
Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), photo from croatiansports.com.
Defenders,
Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images via espnfc.com/blog.
Vedran Ćorluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), photo from alziendoog.tumblr.com.
Dejan Lovren (Southampton), photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe zimbio.com.
Danijel Pranjić (Panathinaikos), photo from pao.gr.
Midfielders,
Ivan Perišić (Wolfsburg), photo by Getty Images via gettyimages.com.
Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), photo by Getty Images via beinsports.tv.
Ivan Rakitić (Sevilla), photo by Gabriel Corbacho at en.wikipedia.org.
Forwards,
Eduardo (Shakhtar Donetsk), photo from shakhtar.com via prosport.tsn.ua.
Mario Mandžukić (Bayern Munich), photo by Getty Images via blogs.gotsoccer.com.
Ivica Olić (Wolfsburg), photo by Getty Images via uefa.com.
Other player-options,,
Mateo Kovačić MF/AMF (Inter), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Nikica Jelavić FW (Hull City), photo by Getty Images via dailystar.co.uk/sport/football.
Ivan Strinić DF/LB (Dnipro), photo from football24.ua.
Niko Kranjčar AMF/W (Dynamo Kyiv/QPR), photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.

Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Croatia national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at int.soccerway.com/international/europe/wc-qualifying-europe/2014-brazil/1st-round/r15653/.

2 Comments »

  1. Croatia and Belgium is definitely the teams to watch in 2014 FIFA World Cup!

    Comment by TipsterArea — February 22, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  2. Well, Croatia has the problem of being in one of the hardest groups (Croatia along with Brazil, Cameroon, and Mexico in Group A). Belgium has a way easier group (Belgium along with Algeria, Russia, South Korea in Group H).

    Brazil v Croatia is the opening game of the 2014 FIFA WC (on 12 June 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil), en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_FIFA_World_Cup_Group_A#Matches.

    Thanks for the comment, TA.

    Comment by admin — February 22, 2014 @ 11:58 am

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