Even without Modric they’re a force to be reckoned with, international sport journalists agree.
After the first round of Euro 2016 was completed, power rankings started appearing in international media, and Croatia is ranked high in every single one of them. According to The Guardian and their Euro 2016 Power ranking that was published on June 23, 2016, Croatia was the best national team in the first phase of the competition.
Here’s what the UK sports journalists had to say: The most notable thing from beating Spain is that without Luka Modric they remain a force to be reckoned with. Their record should have been 100% only for that bizarre collapse against the Czech Republic – and, really, the disruptive element in their fanbase deserve as much blame as the players. Based on what we have witnessed so far, calling them dark horses is playing their chances down, especially now their path in the knockout stages is moderately easier on account of finishing above the reigning champions. While Modric and Ivan Rakitic are the star turns, Ivan Perisic has arguably been their best player. Defensively they are sound. And Mario Mandzukic could yet have a big impact in attack.
French L’ Equippe seems to share the opinion of their UK colleagues since they also placed Croatia in the top spot. Two Croatian players, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic were in the ideal 11 of the first round, Ivan Perisic was the best player overall while Ante Cacic, Croatian head coach, was named the best coach.
— L’ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) June 23, 2016