Marc Rochon is currently in Kaliningrad working with the Croatia team as a video analyst ahead of the Group D game against Nigeria and subsequent matches against Argentina and Iceland.
Marc, who is from John O’Groats, landed the role after previously working with Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic for the Al Ain team in the United Arab Emirates.
The role involves analysing the Croat players’ strengths and weaknesses and helps Dalic to work on improving his team’s performance levels.
Also, Marc helps to prepare dossiers on any opposing sides that Croatia face, looking to spot any potential weaknesses.
Marc’s career in video analysis took off when he met with the analysis team at English club Southampton while studying sports science at Solent University.
After a spell there and Tottenham Hotspur, he was head of performance analysis at Portsmouth for a season after being the head academy analyst for three years.
Now he is involved in football’s biggest tournament and could hold the key in helping Croatia – whose best display came when they finished third in 1998 – achieve world glory.
He said: “I have been working with the head coach Zlatko Dalic for three and a half years in Al Ain. When he left the club and took over the national team he asked me to come help with a few bits, and from there I’ve been working with the team since November 2017.
“I’m not based in Croatia. I only come into the country for the preparations and matches, but when I’m there everyone is very friendly and welcoming.
“The language is very difficult but luckily most of the team and all the staff speak English. Croatia is a beautiful country and the food is delicious so it’s always a pleasure to go over.
“When I’m there you see the culture is a strong passionate people but they are also very considerate and well mannered in general, with everyone happy to help each other out.
“In my current role I am responsible for the gathering and compiling of our information to share with the coaching staff on the opposition and our own performances and training sessions, then to make that information available through video and written documents.
“We record all our performances in training through GPS and video and then feed that back each night. Along with this we look to prepare our team through use of video meetings and documents on the opposite team.
“My role is very much a support role for the coaches where I produce information so they can make the best and most informed decisions.
“The post-match sessions are used to highlight areas which we can improve and the players are very professional and take this on board and process it into better performances where required next time.
“As for Croatia’s World Cup campaign, the process began when we saw the draw for the group stages and we’ve been building to now since then.”
Marc says a large chunk of his success has come down to the support of family and friends back home in Caithness.
His grannies Nanette Plowman (Wick) and Lilian Campbell (Castletown) both still live in Caithness.
Marc added: “All of my grandparents and my mum have been very supportive of me throughout my life and have always encouraged me to continue to do better. We speak each week and they always give me a boost in energy through encouragement.
“I always know they are there to support me and my little family and we are forever grateful for their love and support.
“Plus all of my aunts, uncles and cousins have also had an influence in who I am and what I do today. I have a few friends still around Caithness.
“I used to come up and play football at the garages in Papigoe or in Castletown, I would jump the neighbours’ wall and have a kick-about with the boys next door. It’s from experiences like this that I have developed a deep passion for football and a love of the game.”