Preview: Croatia was the Cinderella story in the 1998 tournament when it stunned
en route to a third place finish. Up until 1991 Croatia as well
Serbia and Montenegro
were parts of the former Yugoslavia, who
participated in 8 World Cups and reached the semifinals twice. Croatia
hopes to continue that kind of success despite being a much smaller country.
Perhaps the story of the 2006 Croatian team is coach Zlatko Cranjkar's son
Niko, who at 21 is captain of the squad and one of the brightest stars of
Croatian football. Luka Modric is another young player who could rival
Niko Cranjkar for playing time at midfield. The poise and experience of a
relatively young team will be tested this summer as Croatia attempts to repeat their previous success.
Result: Although Croatia attained respectable results in all of their
matches, they failed to secure a decisive win against
and finished third in the group.