Group D: Croatia – World Cup Betting Odds & Tips
Croatia have fallen short of expectations in recent tournaments and their ageing stars will be desperate to make the most of what is likely to be their last World Cup.
Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic will both be well into their 30s in 2022 and two of the planet’s best midfielders will be keen to make a lasting impact on the international stage this summer. After finishing third on their tournament debut as an independent nation in 1998, Croatia have failed to make it past the group stages in their three appearances on the world stage since.
A dramatic qualifying process eventually ended in a play-off win over Greece, with the decision to appoint Zlatko Dalic as manager towards the latter stages of the campaign proving to be justified.
Their strength as a team is definitely in attack, with Modric and Rakitic pulling the strings and providing the ammunition for the likes of Inter Milan pair Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic, as well as Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic. Defensively they can be a bit flimsy, with Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren and Dynamo Kiev’s Domagoj Vida both having errors in them, although Atletico Madrid right-back Sime Vrsaljko is excellent.
First up in Group D, which they are 3.50 to top, is Nigeria in Kaliningrad before trips to Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don to face Argentina and Iceland, who they finished second to in qualifying, respectively. Dalic’s side are 1.91 to win their opener, with the draw 3.40 and Nigeria 4.00.
It promises to be an intriguing campaign for the Croatians and their fans will again look at the names within the squad and predict big things. However, for all their exploits on the club scene, having disappointed in the past, the likes of Modric and Rakitic will know they have a point to prove on the grandest stage of all.
Therefore, the key between now and June is for Dalic to find a way to finally bring out the best in one of the most talented groups around.