The former Netherlands star and FIFA chief officer for technical development, Marco van Basten, said on Thursday that Croatian captain Luka Modric plays a decisive role in the Balkan squad.
FIFA is to announce the 2018 FIFA World Cup awards after Sunday's final game between Croatia and France at Luzhniki Stadium and Modric is widely thought to be well-positioned to win an award.
Van Basten said that Croatia have good players who fight until the last minute, stressing that the influence of the 32-year-old midfielder Modric has been extraordinary.
Croatia defeated England 2-1 on Wednesday in an extra-time thriller to become the second-smallest nation in history to reach the World Cup final.
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