Despite their lacklustre start against Morocco, Luka Modric argues that Croatia is not here the World Cup "simply to participate" and that their "ambitions are big."
Croatia, who finished second to France four years ago, began its quest to advance in Qatar with a scoreless draw against Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium.
In fact, Croatia registered just 0.52 xG (expected goals), their lowest total in 12 World Cup games, as players like Modric and Andrej Kramaric remained scoreless.
However, the captain is adamant that Zlatko Dalic's team, who have only suffered one loss since losing to Spain in the Euro 2020 semifinals last year, still has more to offer.
"As the World Cup progresses, Croatia will be better," Modric told reporters. "We did not come here just to participate. Our ambitions are big, but we have to take them step by step.
"I don't want to be misunderstood - to reach the second round is not our only objective, just the first one. Our objectives are greater."
Modric, who has made more major tournament appearances for Croatia than any other player (26), created further history despite his nation's disappointing start to the tournament.
At 37 years and 75 days, the Real Madrid midfielder became his nation's oldest-ever World Cup player, as well as the first player to appear in both the European Championship and World Cup across three separate decades.
Croatia, who also face Canada and Belgium in Group F, have either exited at the group stage or reached the semi-finals in their previous five appearances at the finals.