Luka Modrić is a lot of things. He’s Croatia’s best player. He’s been all over the field for them at this World Cup. But more than that, he’s been arguably the best player at the tournament. Now Croatia are onto their first-ever World Cup Final, and it’s all at England’s expense.
Speaking of England, though, Modrić has one particular problem with them. And by them we mean their media.
In the lead-up to their semi-final clash with Croatia, many English pundits thought Gareth Southgate’s side was going to walk right through Modrić and company. After all, Croatia needed extra time (and penalties) against Denmark in the Round of 16 and then Russia in the quarterfinals. Naturally many thought they would tire. However from the 60th minute on, England had the look of a side with tired legs.
And Modrić just wants the media to be a little more humble next time. Per BBC Sport, that’s all he asks.
“English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia and that was a huge mistake. They should be more humble and respect more opponents.”
None of this is off base, of course. We’re talking about the World Cup semi-finals after all. All four teams did deserve to be there. Same with the eight teams in the quarterfinals. Hell most teams get to the Round of 16 because they did something right. Disrespecting any of them is short-sighted at best and just plain foolish at worst.
But Modrić didn’t stop there.
“All these words from them we take, we were reading, and we were saying, ‘OK, today we will see who will be tired’. … We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects.”
Can they do it again against France on Sunday? We have no idea.
But there’s no reason to doubt Modrić or Croatia now.