Croatia managed to qualify for the World Cup 2014 in the most nail biting circumstances. As a result, manager Niko Kovac says that he is not thinking too much about the tournament right now, but says that every team wants to do well since the competition comes around only every four years. Croatia were at their peak during the Euro 2008 when they qualified for the tournament at the expense of England. In subsequent tournaments and qualifying campaigns, they have been rather average. They were in danger of missing out on the 2014 World Cup due to a poor qualifying campaign.

This resulted in the appointment of Niko Kovac just five weeks before the conclusion of the campaign, but he managed to produce stunning turnaround and get the nation into the tournament. The final match against Iceland finished as a 2-0 win for the national team and it also confirmed Croatia’s progress. Kovac has now stated that the five weeks leading up to the final qualifying match were the most nerve wracking he has experienced in his career.

At the World Cup itself, the nation has to do extremely well if they are to progress out of the group. They have been grouped alongside hosts Brazil. Mexico and Cameroon are the other teams.

“I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere. The Brazilians are well known for getting into the party mood. The fans will be passionately involved regardless of whether the host nation are playing at the time. We’ve scraped in by the back door. But we’ll go there looking to perform. We won’t just be there as tourists. You only get a shot at the World Cup every four years so we want to leave behind a lasting impression,” said Kovac. Croatia kick-off the competition with a match against Brazil on the 13th.