Drawn into Group F, Croatia will see Belgium as their primary rivals for group supremacy, and progression to the round of 16 all but assured ahead of Canada and Morocco, who round out the group.
But the 2018 runners-up should fear complacency, particularly when facing Canada, a team ranked significantly below them in FIFA's rankings, but in the enviable position of having a team defined by its youth, and rising stardom.
By contrast, Croatia may find the timing of this first-ever winter World Cup unfortunate, with a number of finalists in Russia now in their early to mid-thirties. An ageing team could be seen as one of the reasons why head coach Zlatko Dalic's side has lost momentum since the last World Cup, posting poor performances in both the 2020 Nations League campaign and 2021's European championships.
Since Dalic has been integrating debutants into the Croatian side, handing international starts to, among others, Josip Stanisic, who plays at club level for Bayern Munich, and Eintract Frankfurt's Kristijan Jakic throughout qualifying and in June's Nations League matches. 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 progression.
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 21 - December 18.
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, as well as a talismanic figure in Croatian football.
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
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 1996, 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 currently 50/1 to win Qatar World Cup 2022.
The leading contenders...
Information correct as of September 12