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ESPN FC's Euro 2016 awards

Euro 2016
Read

Croatia quartet of star midfielders provides hope of escaping group

With just five points from their last seven World Cup matches, Croatia will be hoping for a turn of form in Russia.
Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.
The ESPN FC crew feel Group D which contains Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria could prove to be the most exciting group of them all.

The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away, and all 32 teams are preparing in earnest for their shot at the trophy in Russia. ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14. Find all 32 teams here.

Who they are

Captain: Luka Modric
Manager: Zlatko Dalic
Nickname: Vatreni (The Blazers)
FIFA rank (as of April 12, 2018):18

How they qualified

Croatia had significant problems in UEFA Group I, and managed to secure second place behind Iceland on the last matchday...



Dubbed Croatia's new Alen Boksic, Ante Rebic is finally proving his worth

With just five points from their last seven World Cup matches, Croatia will be hoping for a turn of form in Russia.
Eintracht Frankfurt defied the odds, overcoming Bayern to win their first major title since the 1988 German Cup and qualify for next season's Europa League.
From his Berlin roots to the Bayern hot seat, get the lowdown on incoming boss and 2018 DFB Pokal winner Niko Kovac.

Bayern Munich fans had their doubts when Niko Kovac was announced as the club's next coach, but the 46-year-old proved himself when his Eintracht Frankfurt side ruined Jupp Heynckes' farewell party and shocked the champions 3-1 in the DfB-Pokal final last weekend.

Kovac might not be experienced in working at top clubs, but he definitely knows how to put problematic players back on track. Kevin-Prince Boateng is the most high-profile example of Kovac's magic touch, but it was Ante Revic who shone...

 By Nick Miller

World Cup Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

The ESPN FC crew discuss whether Lionel Messi and Argentina have the toughest World Cup group.

Intriguing can be a pejorative word in football, because so often it just means: "Dull, but I'm pretending to be interested on an intellectual level."

But this genuinely could be the most intriguing group of the first round. You have Lionel Messi's (probable) last attempt at international greatness, the unpredictability of a Croatia side who sacked their coach before their playoffs, the possibility that tiny Iceland could repeat their Euro 2016 heroics and a fresh and exciting Nigeria side.

There's...

He's loved in Madrid, but in Croatia? It's complicated for Luka Modric

Luka Modric reflects on his time at Real Madrid and relishes the chance to play former club Tottenham in the Champions League.

When Real Madrid signed Luka Modric from Tottenham in the summer of 2012, they weren't exactly sure what they were getting or where he was going to fit. Jose Mourinho's team had won La Liga the previous season, and the midfield already included Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Michael Essien, Mesut Ozil and Kaka.

Some Spanish media compared Modric to Johan Cruyff, largely because of the mop of hair. Others imagined him in midfield, while fretting over whether he had the physicality to hold his own in...

 By Tom Marshall

Croatia spoils Javier Hernandez's record-setting night in Mexico loss

Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring a Mexico-record 47th goal for country in a loss to Croatia.

Three thoughts following Mexico's 2-1 friendly loss to Croatia in Los Angeles.

1. Chicharito breaks scoring record

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez became Mexico's record scorer on Saturday, but he couldn't stop El Tri from falling 2-1 to Croatia in a friendly in L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Hernandez scored his 47th goal for Mexico -- to take him one beyond Jared Borgetti -- three minutes from the end as the team came close to equalizing, but couldn't find a second.

The loss was only...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Robert Kovac chases and catches alleged robber in Frankfurt

Former Croatia international Robert Kovac did his best superhero impression after chasing and catching a thief who had allegedly just robbed a pensioner in Frankfurt.

On Monday evening, Kovac, 43, reportedly saw the 72-year-old in trouble and chased down the attacker, who is now facing trial.

"Civil courage is important but I don't know if I would always act like that," the Eintracht Frankfurt assistant coach said in a quote released by his club. "It always depends on the situation and I am happy...