Team Preview: Croatia

FIFA Ranking: 8

Euro history: Croatia will be playing in their fourth Euro in their country’s short history. Croatia was part of Yugoslavia until the early 1990s. Croatia topped their group in Euro 2008 over Germany, Poland and Austria. They lost a heartbreaking quarterfinal match to Turkey in penalty kicks.

How they qualified: Croatia finished two points behind Greece in Group F. They defeated Turkey on aggregate 3-0 in the second place playoffs

Group information and schedule: Croatia is in Group C with Ireland, Italy and Spain. All games will be played in Poland.

June 10 vs. Ireland in Poznan

June 14 vs. Italy in Poznan

June 18 vs. Spain in Gdansk

Early roster thoughts: Goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, and defenders Josip Simunic and Vedran Corluka have international experience. Croatia’s best player is midfielder Luka Modric, who is a great playmaker that plays for Tottenham. Croatia has four solid forwards to choose from. Ivica Olic and Mario Mandzukic will likely start, but look for Everton striker Nikica Jelavic to make an impact.

How they will do: Croatia is part a strong group with European giants Spain and Italy. Second place is reasonable expectations for Croatia, especially with Italy struggling going into the tournament.

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