During the stage group, Croatia presented us with some refined moments and a quality football. Mixing some world stars like Modric and Rakitic, with some young talented players like Brozovic, Coric, Jedvaj and Kovacic this is one of the most promising national teams in Europe.
1st Phase of Construction – 1st Pass Statistics
Croatia opts to start the offensive process with 2 players – the center backs. The midfielders support with a passing line. Modric and Badelj are more of 1 touch player and progress with that intention. If Kovacic is called, he opts to conduct more often than pass the ball.
This gives Croatia more width, to open the defense and create more space for Modric or Rakitic to show in the passing lines and create more variaty. If the pressure is high, the ball is often in Corluka who plays directly to the wings for Perisic or Brozovic.
2nd Phase of Construction
Rakitic as a main role here. He can go free, searching for the spaces between the defense and create the dynamic to go further in the field. Usually he opts to conquer space with conduction, but varies a lot his game.
Modric supports more this stage than Badelj, who’s concerned with the balance if they lost the ball.
The wingers can make 2 moves. First they can play closer to the line giving width and exploring the ball on the space upfront. Or they can play inside, opening space for Srna and Strinic. Mandzukic sometimes shows up in the line creating space for Rakitic and Modric to be closer to the area – both have great long distance shoot.
With a big pace all the game, Croatia put some pressure on the finishing area. They opt for the cross – Perisic and Srna are both specialists in this field, and the advantage of Mandzukic who is a great header.
The pressure on the second ball with Modric-Rakitic-Badelj getting more upfront than the average team creates an extra of danger in the last third of the field. When they search the middle with Rakitic, the winger play wide open, and create interior movements to the goal, exploring the ball on the back of the defense.
Goal Creation – Cross Statistics
Although they play often from both sides, it’s on the right, with Srna that emerges more crosses to the area. Srna variate the crosses to the first post and the back of the defense.
Goal Creation – Statistics
As we can see, they create a lot of shooting opportunities outside the box. This is due to the second balls and the late crosses. They’re much more effective inside the box though, result of Mandzukic and Perisic mostly.
When they opt for direct play, they loose efficiency as expected. This resulted in a big number of lost balls in their own midfield that can be dangerous if the opponent is uses a counter attack style of play.
The higher number against Spain is recognizable with the intention of putting the ball on the back of the full backs who play with a lot of depth.
In this particular moment, Croatia has two ways of solving it.
They can progress with conduction, trying to solve the problem individually, or the use short pass combinations and variety the side of the ball quickly. When they face this type of situation, Rakitic and Perisic are the ones to pressure. They’re the ones the team is looking for in the counter attack.