Croatia’s 2018 World Cup Pursuit Inspired by the Past

A brief overview of the highs and lows for the Croatian national football team.

Croatia’s players celebrated after winning the quarterfinal match against Russia in Sochi, Russia, on Saturday.CreditManu Fernandez/Associated Press

The modern Croatian team was readmitted to FIFA in 1992 after gaining independence from Yugoslavia. Since its World Cup debut, Croatia has qualified for all but one World Cup tournament. This is the team’s second appearance in the semifinals.

Some other stats:

First appearance: 1998

Total appearances: Five out of 21 World Cup tournaments

Title wins: 0

What’s the History

An Impressive Debut

At its World Cup debut in 1998, Croatia made it all the way to the semifinals, ultimately winning the third-place matchup. The result catapulted them from 125th to third place in FIFA’s worldwide rankings, and the team was styled Croatia’s golden generation.


An Infuriating Loss

In 2014, Croatia failed to advance from the group stage, partly as a result of a controversial loss to Brazil.

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