Luka Modric insists Croatia are not at the World Cup "just to participate" and their "ambitions are big" despite their lacklustre start against Morocco.
Runners-up to France four years ago, Croatia's quest to go the extra step in Qatar began with a goalless draw against Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium.
Indeed, Croatia failed to score for the first time in 12 World Cup matches, registering just 0.52 xG (expected goals) as the likes of Modric and Andrej Kramaric were kept quiet.
But the skipper is adamant there is more to come from Zlatko Dalic's side, who have suffered just one defeat since their Euro 2020 exit to Spain last year.
"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 it 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.