Drawn into Group F, Croatia have Belgium as their primary rivals for supremacy, and progression to the round of 16 is all but assured ahead of Canada and Morocco, who round out the group.
According to the latest Fifa rankings, Croatia are the seventh best team in the world, well capable of causing an upset in the knockout stages, just like they did in 2018 when they reached the final.
After that, the side appeared to be in decline, after poor performances in the 2020 Nations League campaign and 2021's European Championship. However, recently Croatia won their Nations League group, ahead of France, Denmark and Austria.
Zlatko Dalic has recently been integrating debutants in a bid to refresh the team that reached the final of the tournament in Russia four years ago. He has handed starts to, among others, Josip Stanisic, who plays at club level for Bayern Munich, and Kristijan Jakic from Eintracht Frankfurt.
After a shaky start to their qualifying campaign, Croatia topped their group ahead of Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and runners-up Russia, who were later suspended from the tournament.
Following their successful Nations League campaign, Croatia have just one more game to play – the friendly with Saudi Arabia on November 16 – before getting their World Cup under way against Morocco 17 days later.
Croatia World Cup 2022 squad
World Cup squads are usually formally announced around six weeks before the World Cup starts. This year the World Cup will run from November 20 to December 18.
However, Dalic has named his provisional 34-man squad, which will be trimmed before Qatar, which includes three previously uncapped players: goalkeepers Nediljko Labrovic and Dominik Kotarski, and Josip Misic, who plays for Dinamo Zagreb.
Who is likely to be the star name in the squad?
In a team studded with international standouts, such as Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic of Inter Milan, and Tottenham's Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric remains the brightest in the firmament. A master of midfield alchemy and Champions League titleholder with Real Madrid, Modric is his country's most capped player, with 152 international appearances. He will be 37 at this year's World Cup.
"I'm certain he'll stay on the team, and that this won't be his last major tournament," said coach Dalic. "Luka is playing amazing football and he can continue doing so."
What are Croatia's fixtures?
Croatia will play in Group F against Morocco, Belgium and Canada.
All times GMT
November 23: Morocco v Croatia, Al Bayt Stadium, 10am (GMT)
November 27: Croatia v Canada, Khalifa International Stadium, 4pm
December 1: Croatia v Belgium, Al Rayyan Stadium, 3pm
What is Croatia's World Cup record?
Croatia have qualified for all but one of the World Cup tournaments held since their independence, in 2010, and their appearances are bookended by their standout finishes: third place at France 1998, which made them the highest-finishing debutants since Eusebio's Portugal in 1966, and runners-up in Russia 2018.
Modric was awarded the Golden Ball for best overall player of the tournament, with his performance in Russia contributing to his Ballon d'Or win later that year.
Croatia are 50/1 to win Qatar World Cup 2022.
The leading contenders...
Odds correct as of November 1