FIFA Research Ahead of World Cup 2018: Croatia Among Tallest Teams, Most Players in Foreign Clubs

Daniela Rogulj

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The International Football Federation (FIFA) and the CIES Football Observatory have made an interesting analysis of the competitors in next year’s World Cup in Russia.

With the World Cup draw this Friday in Moscow already bounding us to the edge of our seat, FIFA has decided to give us something to hold us over for the next few days – probably a smart way to keep our minds off of drawing the potential “Group of Death” in the tournament. Fingers crossed Croatia draws a decent group!  

That said, FIFA and CIES have compared the 1,032 footballers who competed in the World Cup qualifiers, and 40 Russian footballers who played in friendly matches to gather some pretty exciting data ahead of the highly anticipated tournament next summer.

Here’s a bit of what they found out as reported by T.portal on November 28, 2017. 

Nigeria is the youngest team in the tournament, averaging 24.9 years of age, while Panama will play with the oldest team at 29.4 years of age. Croatia’s football team is somewhere right in the middle, averaging a player age of 27.5 years.

When it comes to the tallest teams in the competition, the Serbian national team takes the crown, averaging a height of 185.6 cm. Serbia is followed by Sweden (185.2) and Iceland (185). In fourth place are the Danes, (185), and in fifth place is our Croatian national team with an average player height of 184.9 cm. The shortest teams are Saudi Arabia (172.2), Japan (178.1) and Peru (178.3).

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61.5% of Morocco’s players were born abroad, while Senegal averages around 39% of their players born aboard, followed by Portugal (32%), Switzerland (31%), Tunisia (23.5%) and Croatia (15.4%). The seven teams that do not have any players born outside of their country are Korea, Mexico, Colombia, Germany, Iran, Syria, and Brazil. 

And another interesting piece of information: Croatia, Sweden and Iceland did not use a single player from their domestic leagues in the qualifiers, while England and Saudi Arabia were the only teams to use all players in their national leagues in the qualifiers. 

The highest number of players in the qualifiers came from English clubs (164), while Spanish clubs boasted 95 players, German clubs recorded 90, Italian clubs bragged 71, and French clubs had 55.

Average Age

Youngest national teams:

Nigeria – 24.9 years

Germany – 25.7 years

England – 25.9 years 

CROATIA 27.5 years (ranking 19th out of the teams)

Oldest national teams:

Panama – 29.4 years

Island – 29.0 years

Costa Rica – 29.0 years 

CROATIA – 27.5 years (ranking 14th out of the teams)



Serbia – 185.6 cm

Sweden -185.2 cm

Iceland – 185 cm

Denmark – 185 cm

CROATIA – 184.9 cm


Saudi Arabia – 172.2 cm

Japan – 178.1 cm

Peru – 178.3 cm

Number of players in foreign clubs


CROATIA – 100%

Sweden – 100%

Iceland – 100%


England – 0%

Saudi Arabia – 0%

Russia – 5%

Translated from T.portal


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