There are many names for the sport played around the world, and whether you want to call it football or soccer, there is little doubt that it is the beautiful game. Its most prestigious and popular tournament is set to begin again on June 12, 2014 in Brazil and fans of the sport have long waited for its kick off.
The FIFA World Cup is played every four years and this year’s installment will be held in the soccer-crazed nation of Brazil. Many hope their nation can do what Spain did in 2010-lift the championship trophy as victors of the tournament. 32 teams have made it the final tournament, including the relatively young nation of Croatia. Here is a preview of the squad representing the European country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Croatia opens up the tournament in a Group A showdown
They qualified for the finals of the tournament by holding off Iceland in a UEFA playoff and hope they can have a repeat of the 1998 tournament that saw them get third place in France. Croatia will be tested early on, as they find themselves opening up the tournament against the host nation and favorite to win Group A, Brazil. There will be much excitement for the match between Croatia and Brazil, and Croatia can hope for a favorable result against the mighty Brazilian squad led by the likes of Neymar and Thiago Silva; the first match of the tournament is expected to be the toughest for Croatia, but nothing ever comes easy at a tournament such as the World Cup. Croatia will also go against fellow Group A members in Cameroon and Mexico to round out group play; the European nation hopes to be in the top two of a group that is bound to be full of excitement.
Who to watch for
It will come to a surprise of very few that many eyes will follow Croatian and Real Madrid star, Luka Modric. The midfielder has really come to form for Real Madrid this season, and he will be the propeller behind success for the Croatian squad at the World Cup.
Niko Kovač may be the most inexperienced manager in the tournament, but as a former World Cup player himself, there is no reason he can’t take the club into the knockout stage.
June 12 versus Brazil in Sao Paulo
June 18 versus Cameroon in Manaus
June 23 versus Mexico in Recife