Captain Luka Modric says Croatia have set a primary target of qualifying from their opening group at the World Cup in Qatar but after that are hoping to match their achievements of four years ago when they finished runners-up in Russia.
But he bemoaned a lack of sharpness in attack as they opened their Group F campaign with a 0-0 draw against Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday.
"It was a difficult game, especially in the first 15 minutes but I thought we were much the better team in the second half. Our defence was particularly strong but missed something upfront.
"I think if we had been a little sharper in attack we could have opened them up a bit more," said the 37-year-old playmaker, a former Ballon d’Or winner and inspiration behind their unexpected run to the final in 2018.
"We haven’t come here just to compete. On the basis of our Russian experience we have ambitions to do the same or even better but even before that tournament we said let’s first set a primary objections of getting past the group stage."
"We know that once we get into the knockout rounds we can be a very dangerous opponents. We have greater goals here, don’t misunderstand me," he told the post-match news conference.
Croatia 2022 World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic, Ivica Ivusic, Ivo Grbic
Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barisic, Josip Juranovic, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanisic , Martin Erlic, Josip Sutalo
Midfielders: Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic, Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakic, Luka Sucic
Forwards: Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja
Who is their best player?
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, 37, is his country's most capped player, with 152 international appearances.
He backed up his pre-tournament status with a man-of-the-match performance in Croatia's opening game against Morocco, though Telegraph readers' best performing player was team-mate Marko Livaja, who was rated 7.8 out of 10.
What are Croatia's fixtures?
November 23: Morocco 0 Croatia 0
November 27: Croatia vs Canada
December 1: Croatia vs Belgium
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.
Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales
Croatia are currently a best price of 120/1 to win the World Cup.