#1 Drazen Ladic

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Despite Ladić's solid performances for Dinamo Zagreb in the European competition in 1997, his two blunders for the national team were still remembered by many people and made them sceptical when he was chosen as the Croatian national team's starting goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup finals in France. However, he showed really good shape at the tournament and already distinguished himself in the second group match against Japan with a great save of Masashi Nakayama's shot in a one-on-one situation. He once again attracted the attention in the quarterfinals against Germany by saving a header and a volley from Oliver Bierhoff at close range, helping the Croatian team to record a surprisingly convincing 3-0 victory over the highly favoured German side. In the semifinals, he was helpless against two Lilian Thuram's goals that gave France a 2-1 victory and a place in the Final, but once again performed well in the third-place match against theNetherlands, clearing several promising goalscoring chances from the Dutch side and conceding only an unstoppable shot from Boudewijn Zenden for the 1-1 equaliser. Croatia won the match 2-1 in the end and was awarded with bronze medals in their very first World Cup appearance since the country's independence. Ladić was seen by many as one of the three best goalkeepers of the tournament. He appeared in all of the team's seven matches.