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Looking back at 16 of Croatia’s biggest sporting victories

 Looking back at 16 of Croatia’s biggest sporting victories

(Photo credit: Bruno Correia/Public domain)

Croatia sporting teams have produced a number of famous wins – and some heartbreaking defeats – since the country became independent 30 years ago.

Whilst there are also a number of famous individual victories,  we take a look at 16 of the nation’s biggest team wins over the last 30 years in various sports. 


Croatia v England – Semi-final 2018 World Cup

Without a doubt, beating England to reach the 2018 World Cup Final is the biggest footballing victory in Croatia’s history. Goals to Ivan Perišić and Mario Mandžukić gave Croatia a 2-1 win in extra-time.

Croatia v Holland – Bronze medal match 1998 World Cup

Winning a medal at the first ever World Cup finals in1998 in France is forever etched in Croatian football history. The 2-1 win over Holland, thanks to goals from Robert Prosinečki and Davor Šuker ensured Croatia bronze. 

Croatia v Germany – Quarter-final 1998 World Cup

One of the most celebrated victories in Croatian sport was at the 1998 World Cup when Croatia defeated Germany 3-0 in the quarter-final. To outclass the former World Champions and powerhouse of world football 3-0 (Jarni, Vlahović, Šuker) on the world stage was a magnificent performance that delighted Croatians all over the world, especially the large contingent in Germany. 

Croatia v Argentina – Group match 2018 World Cup

The two-time World Cup winners Argentina with the world’s best player Lionel Messi looking to claim the one trophy that has evaded him were the favourites for the group encounter in Russia. Ante Rebić, Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić all would score in the stunning 3-0 win which was proved to be the catalyst for Croatia’s great run in Russia.

World Cup 2022 draw

Luka Modrić (Photo credit: Светлана Бекетова/Soccer.ru)


Croatia v Slovakia – 2005 Davis Cup Final 

130 nations took part for the 94th edition of the biggest prize in tennis and it was Croatia v Slovakia in the final. Ivan Ljubičić made it 1-0 to Croatia beating Karol Kučera. The Slovaks made it 1-1 before Ljubičić and Mario Ančić made it 2-1 after the doubles. The Slovaks made it 2-2 before Ančić gave Croatia the deciding point and the trophy.

Croatia v France – 2018 Davis Cup Final

13 years after winning the trophy, Croatia found themselves in another final, this time against France and a repeat of the World Cup football final from earlier that year. Borna Ćorić and Marin Čilić gave Croatia a 2-0 lead before France pulled it back to 2-1. Čilić would made no mistake in his second match to give Croatia their 2nd title. 

biggest sporting victories croatia

Croatia v France (Photo credit: Liondartois/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikicommons)

Croatia v USA – Quarter-final 2016 Davis Cup

Croatia achieved a remarkable comeback victory to reach the semi-final of the Davis Cup in 2016. Trailing 2-0 to the USA in Portland , Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig beat the world number one Bryan brothers in the doubles before Čilć beat John Isner and Borna Ćorić beat Jack Sock to complete the 3-2 win and secure a place in the semi-finals.

Croatia v Serbia – Semi-final 2021 Davis Cup

Croatia reached their fourth Davis Cup Final after beating Serbia in the semi-final of the Davis Cup in 2021. Croatia lead 1-0 after the first rubber thanks to Borna Gojo beating Dušan Lajović. World no.1 Novak Djoković then expectedly put Serbia level at 1-1 when he beat Croatia’s no.1 Marin Čilić in straight sets 6:4, 6:2. Croatia would win the tie when the world number one doubles team of Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić beat Filip Krajinović and Djoković.

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Croatia v Unified Team – 1992 Olympic Games Semi-final

Croatia beat the Unified Team, a joint team consisting of 12 former Soviet republics, 75-74 to in the semi-final at the 1992 Summer Olympics. With the likes of Dražen Petrović, Dino Rađa and Toni Kukoč, Croatia put up a good fight in the final against the Dream Team of the USA.

Croatia v Greece – Bronze medal match 1993 EuroBasket 

Croatia reached the semi-finals of the 1993 EuroBasket where they lost against Russia. In the bronze medal match they faced Greece and trounced them 99-56 to claim the second medal in the nation’s history at a major tournament. 

Croatia v Bronze medal match 1994 World Championships 

Croatia faced Greece for the bronze medal at the 1994 World Championships in Canada after losing their semi-final match to Russia 66-64. Like the year before at EuroBasket, Croatia picked themselves up and were impressive to win their third medal with a 78-60 victory over Greece.


Croatia v Sweden – 1996 Olympic Games Final 

Croatia claimed the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games winning a tense final 27-26 against Sweden. Patrik Cavar was the top goal scorer at the tournament with 43 goals.  

sporting victories croatia

Croatia v Germany in the final (Photo: Gruni70/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons)

Croatia v Germany – 2004 Olympic Games Final

Croatia faced Germany in Athens in the handball final at the 2004 Olympic Games Final. Mirza Džomba with 9 goals helped Croatia to a 26-24 victory to win gold. Croatia were unbeaten throughout the tournament. 

Water Polo 

Croatia v Hungary – 2007 World Cup Final 

Croatia reached the final against Hungary unbeaten. In front of Croatian fans in Melbourne, Australia, Croatia won the match 9-8 to win the World Cup.

Croatia v Italy – 2012 Olympic Games Final

Croatia played Italy in the final of the 2012 Olympics in London.  Croatia win the match 8-6 to record its biggest success at the Olympics. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Croatia reached the final but lost to Spain (5-7). 

Croatian sporting success

Croatia become world champions in 2017 (Photo: Davor Javorovic/PIXSELL)

Croatia v Hungary – 2017 World Cup Final

In what was a repeat of the final from 10 years earlier, Croatia captured their second title by defeating host Hungary 8–6 in the final. 

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