HomeFIFA World Cup 2018How World Cup finalists Croatia could build on the...

How World Cup finalists Croatia could build on the future?

- Advertisement -

Croatia did not only replicated their 1998 World Cup performance but went one step further as the outsiders came close to winning their first ever FIFA World Cup.
Although they ultimately lost to mighty France 4-2 in a final that highlighted Croatia’s inspiration, passion, resilience all over the pitch, they dominated the sports news all over the world, marking a new beginning in the Croatian football.

Croatian President
Croatian President was a popular fan of the Croatian team (Image: Deccan Chronicle)

It was magical for a nation that came close to winning. Despite the heartbreak in the Final of the FIFA World CUup 2018, they received a hero’s welcome after returning home. Their President ruled the news section with her spirit and connection with the football side.
Croatia was superb all throughout and deserves every bit of accolade. Nobody could match their spirit to make a comeback and clinch the fight. They repeated their heroics in a spectacular fashion before falling down against the best side in Russia.
The Success of Croatia in the World Cup defied the odds. Reaching the finale in itself was a major achievement for a nation that gained independence in 1991. After all, Croatia did not have any proper facility for the national team to train together.
Unlike, other football playing nations, Croatia has no general programme to educate young players systematically despite having many talented youngsters. Finally, many clubs in Croatia have financial problems.
So what is next for the finalists in Russia?

Is Euro 2020 a possibility?

Luka Modric
Luka Modric controls the ball in a match (Image: Yahoo Sports)

After a stunning performance, the World Cup runners-up would definitely like to replicate its World Cup heroics in the European Championship’s next edition and lift their maiden international trophy.
The World Cup could give Croatia the momentum and experience to become a major contender for the Euro Cup in 2020. The main question, of course, will be whether Dalić will remain the head coach of the national team.
Furthermore, several of the key players are in their mid-30s. The Euros might be the last chance for this generation to win something but could also be already a step too far for the likes of Mario Mandzukic (32) and Luka Modric (32).
Croatia has always been deemed a country that had a great collection of individuals but were unable to form the individuals into a collective. That is something that changed at this tournament and the 2020 show promises something big.

- Advertisement -

What next for Croatia?

Dalic with the Croatian Team (Image: The Quint)

What about the next World Cup or even the European Championships? The main question will be whether Croatia’s football will install a long-term plan that allows the country to produce young and talented players. Furthermore, will head coach Dalic be entrusted with the job in the long-term?
There seems to be no doubt that Croatia will keep Dalic as the head coach for now. But in the past, the Croatian football federation has been a trigger-happy association and a poor tournament in two years, or even some defeats in the qualification, could mean the end of the coach.
But they should enjoy the moment now and start their groundwork for 2020, before thinking about the World Cup in Qatar.

Coach Dalic needs to be given time

Dalic FIFA World Cup 2018
Dalic was disappointed as Croatia could not win the Final

Hence, long-term stability starts with the coach Dalic needs to be given the room to grow as a coach and build a new generation of players.
Croatia needs to build a core team of which most of the players will be playing at Qatar. Two of their star players Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic will be 36 and 34 years old respectively during the next World Cup. Even if the central midfielders represent their country in 2022, the age might affect their sumptuous playing ability.
Also, players like Mario Mandzukic, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Perisic will be above 30 in 2022. Younger players like Mateo Kovacic and Ante Rebic will likely be the new leaders of the next generation of players.
Dalic needs time to focus on what he has to build, besides doing with what he develops over time. The main focus here should be the 2020 European Championships and take it from there.

What for the players and the future?

Kovacic
Future of Croatian football will depend on how youngsters like Kovacic perform (Image: fourfourtwo)

Kovacic, however, struggles for playing time at the club Real Madrid and may have to make a step to a different club to fulfil his potential.
Ante Rebic in action during the World Cup (Image: Zimbio)

Ante Rebić, in the meantime, is among the biggest discoveries of this tournament. The Eintracht Frankfurt winger has been the subject of transfer rumours. But another year in Frankfurt and then a step to a European powerhouse might be the best way to develop his skills.
In defence, the likes of the 21-year-old Duje Caleta-Car, who just completed a €20 million move from Salzburg to Olympique Marseille, and the 22-year-old Tin Jedvaj from Bayer Leverkusen will likely form the centre-back pair of the future. Both have immense talent and will ensure that the future is bright in defence.
Finally, up front, Croatia has always produced some of the best strikers on the planet. Whether Mandzukic will still be able to play at the 2022 World Cup remains to be seen – although the German Miroslav Klose won his first World Cup aged 36. As for a potential replacement look no further than Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric.
Kramaric has had another fantastic season in Germany and at 27 will be 31 in four years at a perfect age to lead the front-line. Furthermore, Croatia has always produced fantastic strikers and without a doubt will continue to do so.

- Advertisement -

15 Highly Educated Cricketers Of All Time

Cricket is a game of passion and dedication. A sport in which one involves themselves in camps and practice since early childhood. Due to...

Do we often under-appreciate Andy Flower? What’s his legacy?

There's a hint of sadness in noting that Zimbabwe has never been a dominant power in world cricket. But nothing could be sadder than...

How Come UFC Fighters Have Cauliflower Ears But Boxers Don’t?

The UFC has come a long way since its early days, wherein the fights seemed like modern-day gladiators due to its brutality and inconsistent...

Why are more and more MotoGP riders using the Noson nasal dilator?

Introduction MotoGP riders or athletes are physically fit and healthy individuals and their muscles are continuously functioning and used during the performance. As a fan...

IPL 2018: The beautiful Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

Being seated in the Sawai Mansingh stadium brings a different world, a world of difference away from the palpable excitement of watching truly India’s...

5 spinners who can be India’s potential finger-spinners

The Indian cricket team has always been proud of its ability to produce world-class batsmen and similarly potent spinners. Though in recent times, the...

The astonishing decline of Mario Balotelli

There was a time when Mario Balotelli was on top of the world.  The Italian talisman had scored two goals in the Euro 2012 semi-finals,...

Top 5 Left Wingers In The World, Based On 2019-20 Season

Owing to the fact that football has evolved a lot since its inception and the tactics have changed a lot, the role of wingers...

What can be expected from the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

Heat in the air and heat inside the car- that's been the story of the Azerbaijan Grand prix. As F1 parks itself at Baku...

How Suresh Raina Batted India Into The Finals of 2011 World Cup

Its been 9 years, since India won the Cricket World Cup defeating Sri Lanka on 2 April, 2011. The images and visuals of...

Big change for India Women’s cricket as BCCI looks to finalise bowling coach soon

We are not even at the halfway stage of the 2018 cricketing season. It clearly seems there's no stopping India's women's cricket team. The...

IPL 2018: The best from the West Indies

When one of nature's treacherous attacks on mankind- earthquakes- strike, their impact is measured on Richter's scale. When West Indians strike in a tournament...

Age Fraud in Indian Cricket: Are players really to be blamed?

There have been times while watching a cricket match when we tend to hear commentators comment on cricketers’ age. We as fans have many...

Southampton XI if they didn’t sell their star players

Southampton, a club located in the south coast of England, have one of the most renowned youth academies in the Premier League.  Despite producing class...

Ajax XI if they didn’t sell their star players

Based in Amsterdam, AFC Ajax, who incidentally draw their name from the legendary Greek hero of the same name, are the most successful club...

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -