Croatian soccer runs an eye over Australia

A delegation from the Croatian Football Federation (CFF) has arrived in Australia insisting their trip Down Under is not about keeping tabs on young Australian-Croats who could one day turn out for their national team.

The CFF has sent some of its big hitters - including national team coach Zlatko Dalic - to Sydney, where it has run camps at Sydney United's King Tom home.

More than 100 players between the ages of 13 and 16 - many sporting headbands in the style of national-team skipper Luka Modric - have come under the watchful eye of some of the CFF's top brass.

Among the visitors are under-17s coach Petar Krpan and under-19s boss Josip Simunic, the Canberra-born defender who went on to win more than 100 caps for Croatia.

Former Socceroos goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac and current Macarthur FC defender Tomislav Uskok have also been keen observers.

Dalic will be a guest of honour at anniversary dinners for two of the Australian-Croat community's biggest clubs - United and Melbourne Knights - and plans are afoot for a meeting with Football Australia.

Sceptics will look at Croatia's presence as a means to get in front of the best eligible players, but Simunic told AAP that was not the CFF's approach.

"Not at all," he said, when asked whether the visit is an exercise in broadening Croatia's talent pool.

"The Croatian Football Federation ran camps in America and Canada, other countries and clubs have camps in Australia and that's all OK.

"It's all about football. What's going to happen (in the future) is up to the players.

"It's about helping them get better and in the right surroundings and eventually many of them could make a career out of it."

Croatia have enjoyed incredible success under Dalic, who took them to the 2018 World Cup final and secured the bronze medal in the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Add in a semi-final appearance in 1998 - their first World Cup after gaining independence from Yugoslavia - and Croatia have reached the final four in three of the last seven tournaments.

For a country of just four million people, it's an impressive achievement when compared to much better-resourced European nations including Holland, England and Portugal.

So is there a lesson for Football Australia as the governing body aims to build on the Socceroos' best-ever showing in Qatar?

"Everyone's asking how we do it, but we have good academy set-ups," Simunic said.

"I can't comment on the youth system in Australia and I don't want to step on anyone's toes.

"The most important thing for players is coaching - educating the coaches to get the players ready for football at the professional level."