World Cup: Croatians can flourish with line-up tweak

Mandzukic as lone frontman will aid Modric and Rakitic and free up space for wingers

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool. Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Fiorentina. The case for Croatia has always involved the cast list's employers. Football has become one of the leading export industries for a country of just over four million people. Its finest products are displayed in the most prestigious of locations.

And yet tipping Croatia is not simply a case of taking a cursory glance at the teamsheet and assuming players signed by the biggest clubs will excel together.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline 'Croatians can flourish with line-up tweak'. Print Edition | Subscribe