Modric the Key for Croatia

    11 Jul 2018 | World Cup | Preview
    Modric the Key for Croatia
    DarioZg / Shutterstock.com

    While most of the fuss surrounding Real Madrid’s latest Champions League success surrounded Cristiano Ronaldo, there was one man quietly going about his business in midfield and his name is Luka Modric.

    The forwards often get the praise come the end of a trophy winning campaign as they are the players who often score the crucial goals.  Ronaldo scored 15 goals in the 2017/18 Champions League, which is 5 more goals than the next player in the list.

    However, the Portuguese forward would not be receiving the ball in dangerous situations without Modric in midfield.  The Croatian has always had a good reputation at club level for this ability but he is now being recognised as the best central midfielder at the World Cup.

    Croatia have made it to the World Cup semi-final, having remained undefeated throughout the tournament. They won each of their three group games, with the pick of the results being the 3-0 win over Argentina.

    Modric had a superb game and took the game to Argentina in their half of the pitch.  The Real Madrid man had 62 touches of the ball and made 29 passes in Argentina’s half, more than any other player.  Modric also delivered a delightful curling finish from outside the penalty area to make the score 2-0 on 80 minutes, which put the result beyond doubt.

    Modric will be the key for Croatia on Wednesday night against England and if they are to succeed and reach the final, he will need to be at his best.

    The 32-year-old is known for his great vision and can see and deliver a killer pass to an advancing teammate.  However, there is more to Modric’s game than meets the eye and he possesses great balance.  The former Tottenham Hotspur man can receive the ball in a crowded midfield and use his body to give him space that a second ago did not exist.

    Modric is also comfortable playing with both feet and is happy to accept and pass the ball with either foot and that makes him difficult to read.  With many players, they have a weak foot and its possible to try and force them to play the ball using that foot but with Modric, he is happy to go both ways and that creates a problem for the opposition.

    As the captain of his country, Modric is more than a creative influence in midfield, he demands the best from his teammates.

    England must put the shackles on Modric, if they to defeat Croatia.  However, thanks to his awareness, strength, control and ability to play with both feet, shutting him down is going to be difficult.  It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate decides to bring in another central midfield player to man-mark Modric but even that could prove futile.

    Playing alongside Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield partnership in the world and Modric could be the man to lead them all the way to World Cup glory this summer.

    Predictions for World Cup

    Home team - Away team Tip
    flag_89 WC
    FranceCroatia
    15/07/2018 16:00
    X
    flag_89 WC
    BelgiumEngland
    14/07/2018 15:00
    1
    flag_89 WC
    CroatiaEngland
    11/07/2018 19:00
    X
    flag_89 WC
    FranceBelgium
    10/07/2018 19:00
    2

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