In the latest Croatia news, Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric admits it would be like a “fairy tale” to win the World Cup with Croatia.
Vatreni came through the group stage with three successive victories and just one goal conceded to announce themselves as serious contenders.
They haven’t won the World Cup since becoming an independent nation and their best run came at France 1998, when they finished third.
This summer’s edition of the historic competition is undoubtedly the best opportunity Croatia have had and they may not get an opportunity like this again for a long time.
With the likes of Germany, Spain, Argentina and Portugal all bowing out early it has thrown the bottom half of the draw, which Croatia are in, wide open.
Modric, who is set to turn 33 in September, is unlikely to feature at another World Cup and his exploits along with Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic have been key to helping Croatia to this point.
He has won pretty much everything on offer domestically, including four Champions League titles with Real Madrid, and he is now setting his sights on the top prize at international level.
“To be at this World Cup is a great privilege,” Modric said. “Playing for my team is a great honour and a pleasure, but to win the World Cup with Croatia is almost unthinkable, like the most beautiful fairy tale! It would be incredible to lift the trophy as captain.”
However, Croatia, who are priced at 6/1 to win the World Cup with bet365, will need to hold their nerve against hosts Russia in Saturday’s quarter-final if they are to set up a last-four tie with either England or Sweden.
Russia certainly won’t roll over for Zlatko Dalic’s men, having already seen off 2010 World Cup winners Spain after a penalty shoot-out win in the last 16.