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World Cup Group F Preview: Croatia

18 January 2006 03:49

This team surprised a lot of people by winning their qualifying group ahead of Sweden (whom they beat twice), and now the Croatians are looking for a repeat performance of France '98 when they surprisingly finished third.

Ever since taking over, manager Zlatko Kranjcar has this team playing to at their peak and many feel they have a great chance of getting through to the knockout stages from Group F which features Brazil.

Their defense was impeccable, keeping a clean sheet in six of their qualifying games and they allowed just five in total. Led by captain Robert Kovac, the back four of Croatia will need to be at the top of their game to ensure good results.

Both Darijo Srna and Dado Prso came into their own on the international stage by leading Croatia with five goals apeice. Srna scored the only goals in both wins over Sweden. They also have strikers Bosko Balaban and Ivan Klasnic that can light up the nets when on fire

It will be important for Croatia to keep their opponents out of the net and they should be able to do that against Japan and Australia, but keeping Brazil off the scoreboard will be a true test for the Croatian team.

If they are to get past the group stage, they will most likely get the winner of Group E, which could be a tough matchup if any of the four teams win there. Will be tough for Croatia to get deep, but they'll ride their defense to get there.

Other Group F Profiles

Australia

Brazil

Japan

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Thursday 18 January

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Wednesday 17 January

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Tuesday 16 January

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