|Nicknames||Vatreni (The Blazers)|
|Stadium||Stadion Maksimir, Stadion Kantrida, Stadion Poljud|
The Croatians have been the most successful team to form from the break-up of Yugoslavia; finishing 3rd in the 1998 World Cup as well as becoming regular qualifiers for the major tournaments. Under the guidance of Slaven Bilić (captain during the successful 1998 World Cup campaign), they have established themselves as an unexpected force in European football.
Heartbreak struck at the Euro 2008 Quarter-Finals as they came up against a Turkish team desperate to write fairytale. Ivan Klasnić's 119th-minute goal sent the Croatian bench into hysteria; this soon turned to despair as Semih Şentürk scored an instant equalizer with barely any extra-time remaining. Turkey went through on penalties and Croatia were knocked out ruing their lack of focus.
After a disappointing showing in the previous World Cup, they showed renewed focus to qualify for this year’s event; beating their previous enemy Turkey in an assured performance in the play-offs.
It is easy to forget how many talented players Croatia actually have at their disposal. On top of the reliable Corluka and Darijo Srna, the Croats can call upon the metronomic passing of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic as well as the deadly channel running of Ivica Olic and the lethal finishing of Eduardo.