Can Croatia Win The 2018 World Cup?
Published on 15/01/18
Croatia made their first appearance at the World Cup Finals in 1998, after being formerly part of Yugoslavia until 1991, and then not entering in 1994. They made an instant hit too, reaching the semi-finals after wins over Jamaica, Japan, Romania and Germany, before a 2-1 loss to France ended their dream.
However, since that dream debut they have failed to get past the Group Stage in their other 3 World Cup Final appearances. In 2002 they beat Italy, only to lose to Mexico and Ecuador. They then failed to win a match in 2006, before losing to both Brazil and Mexico in 2014.
Since then, they blew a great chance at Euro 2016, when they lost in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Portugal, and it will be interesting to see how far Croatia go at the 2018 World Cup Finals
2018 World Cup Croatia Stage Of Elimination Betting Guide
Group Stage 7/4, Last-16 13/8, Quarter-Final 9/2, Semi-Final 12/1, Runner Up 35/1, Winner 40/1
Croatia were favourites to qualify automatically for the 2018 World Cup Finals from their World Cup Qualifying Group, however they could only finish second to an Iceland.
The Croatian defence was solid throughout their qualifying campaign, conceding just 4 goals, and leaving them with the best goal difference of the six teams. However, a meagre tally of 15 goals meant they dropped 4-points to Turkey, 2 points to Finland, and crucially lost away in Iceland.
New coach Zlatko Dalic was brought in with one game to go though and, having steered Croatia to a 2-0 over Ukraine, they then qualified for the World Cup Finals courtesy of a 4-1 win and a 0-0 Draw against Greece in the two-legged play-offs.
Having been drawn in Group D at the World Cup Finals, Croatia will first take on Nigeria in what could be a fascinating battle. Nigeria qualified convincingly and, having scored 4 goals against the likes of Cameroon and Russia recently, they could be a handful. However, Croatia like to soak up the pressure and, with goals coming from a variety of players during qualifying, they could be deadly on the counter-attack.
Argentina are second-up for Croatia, and Croatia’s record against South American Teams in the World Cup is poor. They lost to Argentina in 1998, Mexico and Ecuador in 2002, Brazil in 2006, and Brazil and Mexico in 2014.
Finally, Croatia must take on Iceland once more. However, having beaten Iceland 2-0 at home in qualifying, and lost 1-0 away only to a 90th minute goal, Croatia could win this and progress to the Knockout Stages. Something the bookies agree with, as Croatia are strong second-favourites in Group D behind Argentina.
On paper, Croatia have a much stronger team than the ones that exited at the Group Stage in 2002, 2006 and 2014, and it’s a team that potentially could trouble much better-fancied opponents. Fancied to qualify for the knockout stages, they could exit in the Round-of-last-16, but 13/8 makes little appeal. Therefore, a chance is taken on them reaching the quarter-finals at odds of 9/2.