Croatia World Cup squad 2022: Modric headlines Croatian national football team roster for Qatar

By | November 16, 2022

Croatia’s run to the World Cup final in 2018 set a new standard for them as an independent nation, after previously reaching the semifinals of France 1998.

With a squad filled with UEFA Champions League talent, Zlatko Dalic’s side finally clicked together on the world stage four years ago, to storm past Denmark, Russia and England, before losing out to France in the title decider.

However, they have regrouped since then, despite a last-16 exit at Euro 2020, and Dalic will be looking to drag one more big-tournament performance from his veteran stars in Qatar.

Captained by Real Madrid star Luka Modric, Croatia will boast one of the most experienced squads at the World Cup, and Dalic will be relying on that crucial know-how to drive their momentum once again.

MORE: Croatia’s opponents at Qatar 2022: Group F in profile

Croatia World Cup squad 2022

Head coach Dalic named his final squad on November 9. The most notable inclusion was that of midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, who had been an injury doubt in the weeks leading up to the tournament.

He suffered a hamstring issue in late September, and missed all of October. Having made his return to club action with Inter just in time, playing a handful of minutes in the November 6 Derby d’Italia against Juventus, he has been included in the final squad.

Defender Domagoj Vida had also been under discussion after reportedly also being an injury doubt but he appears fine and will look to surpass 100 caps for his country in Qatar.

By far the most important name on the list is Luka Modric, who is captain and talisman for the 2018 finalists. It’s yet to be confirmed, but at 37 years old it’s highly likely this will be his last World Cup. He is joined in the squad by fellow veteran Ivan Perisic.

Duje Caleta-Car of Southampton and Antonio Colak of Rangers have not made the final cut and are arguably the most surprising omissions from the list. Milan striker Ante Rebic was a mainstay of that 2018 run in Russia, but was not part of the preliminary list from which Dalic selected his final 26.

Croatia start their challenge in Qatar by facing Morocco on November 23, but first they’ll play one final friendly fixture against fellow World Cup hopefuls Saudi Arabia, on November 16.

Position No. Player Club Age Caps
GK 1 Dominik Livakovic Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 27 34
GK 12 Ivo Grbic Atletico Madrid (SPA) 26 2
GK 23 Ivica Ivusic Osijek (CRO)  27 5
DEF 2 Josip Stanisic Bayern Munich (GER) 22 7
DEF 3 Borna Barisic Rangers (SCO) 29 28
DEF 5 Martin Erlic Sassuolo (ITA) 24 4
DEF 6 Dejan Lovren Zenit St Petersburg (ITA) 33 72
DEF 19 Borna Sosa VfB Stuttgart (GER) 24 8
DEF 20 Josko Gvardiol RB Leipzig (GER) 20 12
DEF 21 Domagoj Vida AEK Athens (GRE) 33 100
DEF 22 Josip Juranovic Celtic (SCO) 27 21
DEF 24 Josip Sutalo Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 22 3
MID 7 Lovro Majer Rennes (FRA) 24 11
MID 8 Mateo Kovacic Chelsea (ENG) 28 84
MID 10 Luka Modric Real Madrid (SPA) 37 155
MID 25 Luka Sucic RB Salzburg (AUS) 20 4
MID 11 Marcelo Brozovic Inter Milan (ITA)  29 77
MID 13 Nikola Vlasic Torino (ITA) 25 42
MID 15 Mario Pasalic Atalanta (ITA) 27 43
MID 26 Kristijan Jakic Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 25 4
FWD 4 Ivan Perisic Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) 33 116
FWD 9 Andrej Kramaric Hoffenheim (GER) 31 74
FWD 14 Marko Livaja Hadjuk Split (CRO) 29 14
FWD 16 Bruno Petkovic Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 28 23
FWD 17 Ante Budimir Osasuna (ENG) 31 15
FWD 18 Mislav Orsic Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 29 21

Australia | Argentina | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon 
Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | England
France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico
Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Senegal
Serbia | Spain | Switzerland | Uruguay | USA | Wales 

Croatia best player, strengths & weaknesses

Croatia’s main weapon in Qatar will be their incredible level of experience on both the domestic and international scene, with Modric and Perisic both boasting over 100 caps.

Dalic will again rely on the same names that powered their run to the final in Russia, with Modric and Perisic joined by Dejan Lovren, Vida and Brozovic.


The old faces are still the star names within the Croatia squad, with Modric remaining the key man for club and country in midfield.

Some of the other veteran stars have seen their stars dip slightly since 2018, but the emergence of Josko Gvardiol offers a new option at the back, with the RB Leipzig star already reportedly on Chelsea’s transfer radar.


Alongside keeping his veterans ticking over, Dalic has also dealt positively with key international retirements by promoting from within and scouring Europe for talent.

Gvardiol could start ahead of Vida, as a regeneration in defence, with Scotland-based duo Josip Juranovic and Borna Barisic effectively stepping in for now departed Sime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinic.


However, despite managing to replace key names at the back, Dalic is lacking a potent replacement for 2018 heroes Mario Mandzukic and Rebic, with Andrej Kramaric set to shoulder the main goalscoring responsibility.

Croatia World Cup group

Dalic’s Croatia look set for a straight shootout with Belgium for top spot in Group F, with the Red Devils also under pressure to squeeze a last hurrah from their veteran stars.

Canada will pose a threat, if either of the European heavyweights struggle, and coach John Herdman could see his side upset the odds in this group.

Croatia Group F fixtures and match schedule

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Wed, Nov. 23 Morocco vs. Croatia 5 a.m. Al Bayt
Sun, Nov. 27 Croatia vs. Canada 11 a.m. Khalifa Int’l
Thurs, Dec. 1 Croatia vs. Belgium 10 a.m. Ahmad Bin Ali 

Can Croatia replace players on World Cup roster?

Once the final 26-man roster is official, participating teams at the World Cup can only make changes before the first game of the tournament, and only in the case of extraordinary circumstances.

According to the official tournament rules, “a player listed on the final list may only be replaced in the event of serious injury or illness up until 24 hours before the start of his team’s first match.”

The team in question would need to submit a medical report to FIFA and if the world governing body determines “the injury or illness is sufficiently serious to prevent the player from taking part in the FIFA World Cup” then the replacement will be allowed. 

The replacement player must come from the preliminary list of players submitted to FIFA in October.