Slaven Bilic – An automatic starter in that defence of Croatia that reached the semis of the World Cup in 1998. A big fan of the 4-4-2 system and a big admirer of attacking football and is well depicted in the way Croatia play their game.
Darijo Srna – Not well known to most people but this guy has played at Shakhtar Donesk since 2003, has made over 180 appearances for the side and has 15 goals to his name. He’s been in the national team since 2002 and has earned over 90 caps with 19 goals to his credit. He’s also the captain for his club.
Darijo Srna, Luka Modric
Croatia has only been to the Euro’s thrice but have made two quarter final places in (1996, 2008)
I need not repeat myself on the formation. Mr Bilic will go for a 4-4-2 out rightly.
In goal would be Rastov Fc’s Stipe Pletikosa helped by Monaco’s Daniel Subasic. The central defense places should have Josip Simonic and Gordon Schildenfeld. Verdan Corluka should be comfortable at left back allowing Bayern’s Danijel Pranjic. This would allow Captain Darijo to move to his position at the right wing away from his former position at right back. He’s been a revelation under Bilic in that position and should continue there throughout the tournament. On the left of that midfield, should be Modric alongside Sevilla’s Ivan Racitic. The right central midfield position thus should be up for grabs by either Dynamo Kiv’s Vukojevic or Miko Kranjcar of Tottenham. I would prefer the latter as he is Modric’s partner at club but depends on who the coach decides to play between Modric and Racitic for that left center position.
Leaves me with the striker’s position which would be fought for by Nikica Jelavic of Everton and Olic of Bayern while the other spot would go to the striker they all value, Mario Mandzokic. Eduardo of Shakhtar would also be of great assistance at the front.
I don’t know how you would take this but it’s not gonna be easy for Croatia. I love their style of play but against Spain who keep the ball too much and Italy who are so defensive, it’s gonna be hard. They should try and play their game and not try to adapt to the opponent. Might run out of luck and finish third but progressing from this group would be a great plus for them.
Away from the pitch, Croatians are very colorful people. Look at the colors of the Jersey and tell me where else you’ve ever seen a jersey like this. I really don’t know of many Croatians but one whom I’d love to see at the stands would be Dario Simic a former player of this side; ever complaining, hope he makes it.
DID YOU KNOW?
In January 1999, Croatia was ranked third in the FIFA rankings? Their highest ever and their lowest ever ranking being position 125 in March 1994