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Croatia Introduction

The Croatia national football team (Croatian: Hrvatska nogometna reprezentacija) represents Croatia in men's international football matches and is controlled by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS). The team was recognised by both FIFA and UEFA following the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Sides were active during period of political upheaval, representing sovereign entities such as the Banovina of Croatia from 1939 to 1941 or the Independent State of Croatia from 1941 to 1944.

The modern-day team has played competitive matches since 1994 starting with the qualifying campaign for the UEFA Euro 1996. In 1998, they competed in their first FIFA World Cup, finishing third place and providing the tournament top scorer, Davor Šuker. Twenty years later, Croatia reached the 2018 World Cup Final, providing the tournament best player, Luka Modrić. They are one of the youngest national team (since formation) to reach the knockout stage of a major tournament as well as the youngest team to occupy the top 10 in the FIFA World Ranking.

Among other nickname, the team is colloquially referred to as the Vatreni (Blazers) or the Kockasti (The Checkered Ones). In the Italian-speaking counties the team is known as Il furioso incendio (The Blazing Fire). Since becoming eligible to compete, Croatia has only failed to qualify for two major tournament: the UEFA Euro 2000 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Their biggest defeat came in the 2018–19 Nations League with a 0–6 loss to Spain, while their highest-scoring victory was a 10–0 friendly win over San Marino in 2016. The team have developed several rivalries such as the Derby Adriatico with Italy or the politically charged rivalry with Serbia, both of which have led to disruptive matches.