Manager: Niko Kovac

World Ranking: 18

World Cup Best: Third place in 1998.

How they qualified: They were second in group A, which was topped by Belgium, and beat Iceland in the play-offs.

Fixtures: Group A - Brazil (12 June), Cameroon (18 June), Mexico (23 June)


Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa, Danijel Subasic, Oliver Zelenika.

Defenders: Darijo Srna, Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Gordon Schildenfeld, Danijel Pranjic, Domagoj Vida, Sime Vrsaljko.

Midfielders: Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ognjen Vukojevic, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Sammir, Ivan Mocinic.

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic, Ivica Olic, Eduardo, Nikica Jelavic, Ante Rebic.

Expectations: They should not be afraid to think big in Brazil. Not many teams can claim to have such a talented midfield (Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic) and a mercurial striker like Mario Mandzukic.

Having failed to reach the last-16 since their impressive third-place finish in the 1998 tournament, it is time for them to prove their worth.

Star man: Ivan Rakitic – If you ask any Spanish football expert about their top 5 La Liga players of the season the Sevilla midfielder will probably be among them. After scoring 12 goals and notching up 12 domestic league assists, Barcelona want him to replace Cesc Fabregas while Liverpool have reportedly earmarked him as a shoe-in for Adam Lallana's.

His performance at this tournament will probably decide his next destination. He needs to replicate his dominance at Sevilla, the Europe League winners, to an international level.

Prediction: Second round – With Brazil expected to lead the group Croatia will fight for a spot in the knock-out phase in the final group match against Mexico. They have the talent to overcome that challenge but probably not the next one – as should Spain top their group they will face the current Champions in the last-16.