Bangalore, June 12: Nobody thought in 1998 that Croatia, a nation that took birth just seven years ago in 1991 after the collapse of Yugoslavia, would finish third in the maiden appearance in World Cup football. But the squad, led by former Real Madrid strikr Davor Suker made it a reality.
Croatia defeated the mighty Germans 3-0 in the quarters of the 1998 edition
In the 1998 edition held in France, Craotia was clubbed with former champions Argentina and newcomers Jamaica and Japan in Group H. They defeated Jamaica 3-1 and Japan 1-0 and made it to the next round despite losing to Argentina 0-1. In the second round, Croatia beat Romania 1-0 and their biggest victory came in the quarter final when they bulldozed the mighty Germans 3-0. Croatia lost to eventual champions France 1-2 in the semi-final and defeated the Netherlands 2-1 to finish third.
Suker was the top scorer in the 1998 edition with six goals and won the Golden Boot.
Croatia appeared in the two subsequent World Cups in 2002 in South Korea and Japan and in 2006 in Germany but failed to make it to the second round.
Craotia will take on Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo on Thursday.