Croatia

2006-06-01 12:52

Berlin - Thirty-two teams have qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals which take place in Germany from June 9 - July 9.

CROATIA

Honours:

World Cup appearances: 2 (1998, 2002)

World Cup best: 3rd (1998)

Fifa world ranking: 24

Odds: 50/1

Coach: Zlatko Kranjcar

A striker with Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Vienna in his playing days, it is perhaps no surprise that Kranjcar prefers his teams to play an attack-oriented brand of football. Given the task of revitalising Croatia after a disappointing Euro 2004, Kranjcar has succeeded in some style.

Was criticised for drafting son Niko into the squad but no-one could argue with an unbeaten qualifying campaign that saw his team score 21 goals and concede just five.

Key player: Darijo Srna

A quicksilver presence on the right-wing, threatening in attack and always ready to help out with the defensive duties, Srna was one of the driving forces for Croatia in qualifying when he contributed five goals overall.

Superbly accurate long-range passing and lethal free-kicks have earned him comparisons with David Beckham. A good World Cup could well see the Shakhtar Donetsk player heading to one of Europe's major leagues.

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

Tomislav Butina (FC Bruges/BEL), Stipe Pletikosa (Hajduk Split), Joseph Didulica (Austria Vienna/AUT)

Defenders:

Robert Kovac (Juventus Turin/ITA), Stjepan Tomas (Galatasaray/TUR), Dario Simic (AC Milan/ITA), Mario Tokic (Austria Vienna/AUT), Josip Simunic (Hertha Berlin/GER), Igor Tudor (Sienna/ITA)

Midfielders:

Jerko Leko (Dynamo Kiev/UKR), Jurica Vranjes (Werder Bremen/GER), Antony Seric (Panathinaikos/GRE), Niko Kovac (Hertha Berlin/GER), Marko Babic (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Ivan Leko (FC Bruges/BEL), Luka Modric (Dynamo Zagreb), Niko Kranjcar (Hajduk Split)

Forwards:

Ivan Klasnic (Werder Bremen/GER), Ivan Bosnjak (Dynamo Zagreb), Bosko Balaban (FC Bruges/BEL), Ivica Olic (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Dado Prso (Rangers/SCO)

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