The playmaker has not suffered a ruptured muscle but he could still miss Croatia’s match with Spain as a precaution.
Croatian coach Ante Čačić will make a late call on whether to include influential midfielder Luka Modrić for their Euro 2016 Group D decider against Spain on June 21, 2016, 21.00 CET. Fresh from winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, Modrić has displayed brilliant form in France, volleying a marvelous winner to crown a man-of-the-match display in the opening 1-0 win over Turkey.
The 30-year-old was just as impressive as Croatia cruised into a 2-0 lead against Czech Republic, only for his departure with muscle tightness to herald a collapse to 2-2 against a backdrop of crowd disturbances.
Victory over the double defending champions would still see Čačić’s men progress as group winners and he was pleased to report a scan showed Modrić had suffered no serious damage. “Talking about Luka Modrić, he did a MRI scan. There is no extension, there is no rupture of the muscle but I will decide tomorrow whether he will play or not,” Čačić told a pre-match news conference in Bordeaux.
Another Croatia star familiar to Spain fans is Modrić’s midfield accomplice – Ivan Rakitić of El Clasico rivals Barcelona “Talking about Ivan Rakitić, I can say I’ve been the coach of this team since October last year and I think he is playing some of the best games in this national team,” Čačić added. “Rakitić had many games at the top level and this happened also here. He played a good match against Turkey and a very good match against Czech Republic.”
Winger Ivan Perišić believes the dedication and endurance of captain Darijo Srna, who returned home for his father’s funeral before starting the Czech game, will continue to serve as an inspiration to the team; “Darijo, he’s playing for the Croatian team for 15 years,” Perišić said. “He is a great person. I can only say positive things about him. He went through a really heavy moment – not many players would come back the day after his after their father’s funeral for the team. He is so important for this team, he is our captain. This can only motivate us even more and we want to go as far as possible because of him.”
There are many calculations about the most convenient result for the Croatian team in tonight’s game, but it is clear that a win would be the best one. As the new format allows sixteen teams to participate in the play-off round, it feels like the final tournament will start in a few days.
It is impossible to avoid the question of fans. The media outrage in Croatia has somewhat calmed down after the UEFA fine yesterday, but there is still a danger of misconduct in the future, as Zdravko Mamić and Davor Šuker are still in power.
It feels that it would be harder to predict the events in the stands, than ones on the pitch. Croatian fans fighting against the CFF are quite unpredictable, and obviously do not lack motivation or imagination when hurting the Federation is the goal, so one could expect a different approach than in Saint Etienne.
And regarding the match itself, as both teams are to qualify for the next round, one would expect a match with not much risk, and it is expected that the players will be careful not to get injured. Coach Del Bosque will probably rest five or six players, but he has such strength in his line-up, that it will make almost no difference for Spain.
Although coach Čačić has said that Modrić will play if he is fit, it is expected that he will get his rest tonight, as could Mario Mandžukić. It is expected that Nikola Kalinić will play up front, and Marko Pjaca should be on the right flank. And the pundits expect young Ante Čorić in the team, a fact not surprising anybody.
TCN will bring the full match report after the match.