The only thing consistent about Croatia’s national side since its inception as an official FIFA footballing nation in 1992 is a lack of consistency. The qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was no different – it included home and away losses to a Scotland side that collected points in only three other games, yet it also yielded four points from the two ties against main second place rivals Serbia

The campaign witnessed the departure of embattled coach lgor Stimac, who was replaced by fan favourite Niko Kova – the former coach of the U-21 side. Despite having managed the Vatreni in only two games – the play-off ties against Iceland – Kova has overseen significant improvement. In the second lef Croatia played an expansive, possession-based 4-2-3-1 system built around the creative midfield trio of Luka Modri, Mateo Kova and Ivan Rakiti – a combination Kova is expected to rely on in Brazil.

COACH>>

NIKO KOVAC

The former midfielder was tactically astute as a player, which will serve him well in the dugout. Drawing on experience from his long career in German football, he has vowed to introduce a more modern style of play and a more efficient organisation.

Fixtures Group A

Brazil
San Paulo 13 June 2014

Cameroon
Manaus 19 June 2014

Mexico
Recife 24 June 2014

*Dates are AEST

Tournament history
Previous tournaments: 3

2010 FIFA World Cup performance
Did not qualify

Best performance
Thrid place,, 1998

How they qualified
Second, European Group A
Beat Iceland in play-offs