Brazil will want to kick off their party in style in front of their expectant fans, but World Cup opening games are notoriously tight and cagey affairs - and this could suit the Croatian's down to the ground.
There were two very different Croatian sides on show during qualifying. On the most part the side that finished third at France 98 had a disastrous time and after only just scraping into a play-off qualifier against Iceland, Igor Stimac was relieved of his duties and replaced by current manager Niko Kovac.
Croatia eased past Iceland 2-0 on aggregate in the play-off and since then the Croatians have never looked back. With brother Robert by his side as assistant, Kovac is unbeaten in his time as manager of his country and has moulded Croatia into a solid side with a good balance between physical defensive qualities and the ability to cause problems at the other end.
Tonight Kovac is likely to set up his side to go out and frustrate Brazil. Croatia usually sport a 4-2-3-1 formation, but don't be surprised if that is folded into a 4-1-4-1 formation in an attempt to counter Scolari's high pressing, attacking outfit.
Although Kovac's side possesses an abundance of physicality, Croatia's main weakness is a lack of pace throughout the team especially at the back. So expect Croatia to sit deep with a rigid shape.
Modric and Rakitic will make up a very impressive looking centre midfield for the underdogs, but without any real quality out wide the Croatian's are going to struggle to get in behind Brazil, and might look to rely on set pieces to cause their own attacking threat.
Mandzukic will be a big miss for Kovac this evening, the Bayern Munich forward is suspended following a nasty studs-up challenge in the play-off against Iceland for which he was sent off.
Hull City's Nikicia Jelavic could be the man to take the place of Mandzukic and lead the line for Croatia tonight, but Ivan Persic is also in the frame after scoring twice in a warm-up game against Mali.
It's quite possible that Croatia will look at tonight's game as damage limitation against the much fancied host nation. With Mexico and Cameroon the other opponents Group A, a good goal difference could make or break their chances of progression to the last sixteen - and for that reason the Croatian's may favour sitting back frustrating spectators and Brazilians alike, playing for the draw.
Have something to tell us about this article?