Luka Modric Set For His Last World Cup Run With Croatia

DOHA, Qatar - Luka Modric is gearing up for another World Cup campaign and one last chance to take Croatia to the title.

The 37-year-old midfielder will lead Croatia when his national team plays its Group F opening match against Morocco today.
Four years ago, Modric worked tirelessly and earned the tournament's best player award as Croatia made it all way to the final in Russia, where they only defeated 4-2 the 2018 World Cup champion France in the final. It’s laid the same expectations on a different, younger Croatian squad in Qatar, which hasn’t always been helpful, Modric said.
“Whatever we have been through at the World Cup in Russia is an unforgettable memory, an indelible memory,” Modric said Tuesday. “But we need to put it to one side for now. This is a new tournament and we have to look at it that way.”

Source: nytimes

Only 5 main players in the 2018 finals appeared in the Croatian squad this time after the reconstruction of coach Zlatko Dalic. The constant is Modric. He is attending the World Cup for the fourth time and remains at the heart of everything Croatia does. He is arguably more important to his team's chances than Argentina's Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, who are also chasing their first title late in their glittering careers.

However, Messi's failure yesterday, when Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia, indicates how dangerous it can be to look too far ahead.

“We are quite cautious and what’s happened today (Argentina’s loss) makes us even more cautious,” Dalic said.
In fact, Croatia lost their opener in three of their five appearances at the World Cup, and on those occurrences, they never succeeded to get out of the group. In the two exceptions, they managed to become the last four, with Zlatko Dalić guiding Croatia all the way to the final 4 years ago, eventually losing to France.
“We just need to take it game by game,” striker Marko Livaja claimed.It will be an early game against the Moroccan team in Al Khor, north of Doha, where temperatures are forecast to hit 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) when the game kicks off. However, that heat wasn't an issue for Croatia ahead of the North Africans, thanks to the cooling system used at this year's World Cup stadiums.

Source: khelnow

The atmosphere at the Moroccan camp has also cooled significantly after a heated feud between former head coach Vahid Halilhodzic and Chelsea striker Hakim Ziyech.

Last year, Ziyech, who is considered Morocco's best player for this World Cup, was expelled from the team for what Halilhodzic called his "unacceptable" attitude.
Ziyech achieved an astonishing goal from his own half in Morocco’s last warmup prior to the World Cup.
“I know he’s going to do good things at this World Cup,” Morocco captain Romain Saiss stated.
Modric and Daclic believed Ziyech was the only top-quality player, warning other names as wing-back Achraf Hakimi and midfielder Sofiane Boufal as well.

Source: nzz

The World Cup journey of Luka Modric this year depends a lot on the result of the opener against Marocco. Whether Modic and his teammates have a good outcome, paving the way for another miracle run that contributes to his Ballon d'Or in 2018, or another humiliating defeat as Argentina did yesterday, he deserves all the best wishes for his possible last World Cup.
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