Mavericks on a debut mission: Croatia

1 Drazen Ladic Croatia Zagreb

Has appeared in 22 of the 25 matches Croatia have played since independence (Age 33, 22 caps).

2 Nikola Jurcevic Freiburg

Long-haired full-back who started as a forward. Agile and very quick, tough tackler (28, 13).

3 Robert Jarni Real Betis

Reliable left-back, before going to Spain he spent three seasons in Italy with Bari, Torino and Juventus (27, 19).

4 Igor Stimac Derby County

Good tackler, strong in air, dangerous on the break. A cult figure at the Baseball Ground (28, 16).

5 Nikola Jerkan Real Oviedo

The tallest man in the team, can play either on the right of defence or in the middle (32, 20).

6 Slaven Bilic West Ham

Not the most skilful defender but a good tackler who never gives up. A favourite at West Ham. (27, 20).

7 Aljosa Asanovic Derby County

Old-fashioned inside-left who has just joined the Rams from Hajduk Split. Also played in France and Spain (30, 18).

8 Robert Prosinecki Barcelona

Experienced midfield general. His father is a Croat, his mother is a Serb. Has a lion tattoo on right leg (25, 6).

9 Davor Suker Real Madrid

Just joined Real from Seville, one of the most accomplished strikers in Europe. A goal a game man (28, 18).

10 Zvonimir Boban Milan

Croatian captain, a balanced, skilful midfielder able to subordinate individual flair for the good of the team (28, 16).

11 Alen Boksic Juventus

Striker who rose to prominence with Marseille, moved on to Lazio and now Juventus (26, 12).

12 Marijan Mrmic Varteks Varazdin

Competent goalkeeper who has made the squad depite playing for unheralded provincial club (30, 4).

13 Mario Stanic Club Bruges

Bosnian-born Croat who likes to play as a deep-lying forward behind the strikers (23, 7).

14 Zvonimir Soldo Croatia Zagreb

Solid and reliable defender with Croatia (formerly Dinamo) Zagreb. The understudy to Jerkan (28, 10).

15 Dubravko Pavlicic Hercules Alicante

Reserve defender who was in the Yugoslav side that won the World Youth Cup in Chile in 1987 (28, 16).

16 Mladen Mladenovic Gamba Osaka

Short, stocky midfielder with strong right-foot shot. Has played in Spain, Austria and now Japan (32, 16).

17 Igor Pamic Osijek

Shaven-headed striker who owes place in squad to Mornar's fall from grace on eve of tournament (24, 16).

18 Elvis Brajkovic 1860 Munich

Tall, promising defender, originally with Rijeka, well-built but thankfully not as fat as his namesake (26, 6).

19 Goran Vlaovic Padova

Diminutive striker who is competing with Boksic for the slot as second forward alongside Suker (23, 7).

20 Dario Simic Croatia Zagreb

Young defender who is coming along for the experience and is not expected to make the team (20, 1).

21 Igor Cvitanovic Croatia Zagreb

Centre-forward who is unlikely to get a game unless Boksic and Suker are injured (26, 10).

22 Tonci Gabric Hajduk Split

Veteran goalkeeper who is still one of the best in the domestic league, great reflexes (35, 7).

The team

Having confirmed their class by winning in Italy en route to England, Croatia will not be taken lightly on their debut in an international tournament. "We are the best team in Europe. It only remains for us to confirm it," says coach Blazevic, who may not always find it easy to make a team out of mavericks like Boban, Prosinecki, Asanovic and Suker.

The coach

Born in Bosnia, Miroslav Blazevic played for clubs in Yugoslavia and Switzerland, where he launched his coaching career, which has also taken him to Greece and France. Had a spell in charge of the Swiss national team, and was briefly held in prison last year after being linked with the Marseille bribery scandal. He was released without charge.

The fact file

Previous appearances in finals: None (no previous participation).

Qualifying record: W7, D2, L1 (Group Four winners).

Top scorer in qualifiers: 12 Suker.

Most appearances in qualifiers: 10 Suker.

Population 4.6m. Registered clubs 1,579. Registered players 78,000. Professional players 600.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003