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Croatia captain Luka Modric

FIFA World Cup preview: Croatia

Croatia represents a very strong nation lumped into a very tricky FIFA World Cup group.

This is a country that finished third at the 1998 World Cup. But arguably Croatia has a better roster on paper this time around.

Drawing Lionel Messi's Argentina was messy. This was compounded by also drawing tricky African customers Nigeria and Iceland - the fairytale story of world soccer.

Anything is possible here. Croatia does have the firepower to beat Argentina and sweep the group, although that is unlikely.

It is also possible that Croatia could miss progression altogether. A loss to Argentina would open the door for Nigeria or Iceland to swoop. And Iceland would be very likely to pounce and steal second place.

As a result, if Croatia tops or even escapes this group, they could go a very long way in the tournament.

The draw for Croatia

Nigeria, June 17

Argentina, June 22

Iceland, June 27

The star player

Luka Modric is 32 but has a reliable engine that was never built for speed. His ability to find space and set up teammates has never wavered, and he will be the critical cog in this roster.

Domagoj Vida is also an imposing figure at the defensive end and he will not be shy about getting physical with the best in the game.

What needs to go right

Croatia cannot take Nigeria for granted in their opening game. This is a fixture that needs to be won and won well. Because if Croatia were to draw this match and then come up against Argentina, it could be goodnight nurse. Because of that, this Croatian outfit has plenty of promise which needs to be delivered from the first whistle, or the dream could fade very quickly

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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