XtraTime Web Desk: Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has revealed his side were motivated by the English press underestimating them ahead of Wednesday night’s World Cup semi-final.
Modric – who was absolutely imperious in Moscow – helped his side to a 2-1 extra time win over the Three Lions, who will head home with their heads held high after forcing an unexpected path to the last four of the tournament for the first time since 1990.
Kieran Trippier’s wonderful free kick put England ahead on the night within five minutes, but Ivan Perisic’s second half equaliser sent the game into an additional period. From there, it was Mario Mandzukic who ended the England fans’ hopes of a final against France on Sunday. Instead, England will meet Belgium in Saturday’s third place playoff.
Modric took the time to speak to ITV after the game, and made a point that he and his team were fuelled by a typically arrogant English press, who had already been planning for the final and writing off Croatia for potentially not having the energy to win. Croatia had been through extra time and penalties in their previous two games, but looked stronger than England on Wednesday night in spite of that.
The Real Madrid man said: “People were talking…English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake.
“All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying: ‘OK, today we will see who will be tired.’ They should be more humble and respect their opponents more.
“We showed again that we were not tired – we dominated the game mentally and physically.
“We should have killed the game even before extra time. This is an amazing achievement for us – it’s a dream come true after such a long time. We are in the final and that is the biggest success in Croatia history. We have to be proud.”
Strong words from Luka Modric post-match:
“English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake. All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying ‘ok, today we will see who will be tired'” pic.twitter.com/Rxyv4WA03c
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 11, 2018