With a team featuring Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki wearing blue shirts with a distinctive red and white chequerboard pattern, they beat World Cup giants Germany 3-0 in the quarter-finals in France, sparking delirium at home.
Croatia will now face England on Wednesday in Moscow and after two long and tiring games they will surely start as heavy-legged underdogs. Even a semi-final for us would be a big achievement.
The official match attendance for Saturday's clash against Sweden in Samara was 39,991, which meant there were 1,979 empty seats - a remarkable number for a World Cup quarter-final.
And, if all else fails, Croatia can always go into a penalty shootout confident that they will come out as winners.
Here, Press Association Sport looks a look at Tuesday's key World Cup events.
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Journalists packed into a hopelessly overcrowded room to hear Mandzukic insist all players were raring to go despite the strenuous past two games and that the pressure had now even eased. Belgium have reached the World Cup's last four for the first time since 1986, where they wound up facing - and losing to - France in the third-place play-off.
Another matter of concern for England will be the wide areas, where Kieran Trippier has been outstanding in his attacking wing back role on the right and Ashley Young has done an effective job on the left. "We should continue to show that belief against Croatia - we've got a real chance". I will be supporting Belgium because they have got a really strong team.
They handed them possession and despite playing four times fewer passes than Spain's 1,137 over 120 minutes, they successfully shut them out of their box.
Juventus striker Mandzukic is a big fan - but insists his team have what it takes to beat the England No1 and make it to their first World Cup final.
"Those emotions just burst out of me".
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France's Aujourd'hui en France newspaper prepared a full-page spread featuring the two popular comic characters and said it was more than a match.
"Not revenge, it's football", he said, adding that he wished Croatia was facing a weaker England team.
Robert Prosinecki, a member of the 1998 squad, told AFP: "I would so much like that they be better than us".
Up front, Mario Mandzukic was leaden and static and a strike rate of one goal apiece in five games for him, Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic and Eintracht Frankfurt's Ante Rebic is disappointing.
Football legend David Beckham celebrating England's win over Columbia with the "boys".
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Poland got on the board in the 86th minute, but did not have enough time left to even the scoreboard. "We didn't lose today". The team will now go on to play without Sanchez, with either Wilmar Barrios or Mateus Uribe likely to take his place.
Having played every game so far, Croatia will have to adjust to life without Vrsaljko and it could be a situation that England takes advantage of in preparations leading up to Wednesday's game.
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