The 42-year-old took charge on a temporary basis in October after Igor Stimac resigned as manager due to Croatia failing to win any of their final four qualifiers.
"I can see a spark in the eyes of my players," UEFA.com quotes him as saying. "I can see they want to prove to the public that they are better than people think.
"They want to prove they are top players and a top team who deserve a ticket to Brazil. You will see the true face of the Croatian national team in this first match."
Croatia face Iceland in the first leg of their playoff in Reykjavik on Friday evening.