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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 July 2018

Luka Modric proud of Croatia's 'perfect' win over Argentina and Messi at World Cup

The Real Madrid midfielder warns teammates they must keep feet on the ground despite booking spot in last 16 at World Cup with game to spare

Luka Modric and Croatia celebrate their 3-0 win over Argentina on Thursday. Ricardo Mazalan / AP Photo
Luka Modric and Croatia celebrate their 3-0 win over Argentina on Thursday. Ricardo Mazalan / AP Photo

Luka Modric says his Croatia side must keep their feet on the ground despite booking their place in the World Cup knockout stages by playing the “perfect” match against Argentina.

The Real Madrid midfielder, the Croatia captain, led by example once more in the 3-0 victory in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday night, rounding off a characteristically composed display by scoring his team’s second goal.

Modric struck in the 81st minute, feinting to find space at the edge of the Argentina penalty area before curling an unstoppable shot Willy Caballero. Dominant throughout, Modric was later voted the man of the match.

Asked afterwards if the goal was the best he had scored, Modric said it was one of his finest with the national team, but he preferred instead to focus on the team performance.

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“For me what’s more important is our victory and that’s it,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling. Before the game we knew that to beat Argentina we have to play the perfect match and we did it. We are so happy to be in the next round.”

Asked if the manner of the win – Croatia outplayed a muddling Argentina – sent a message to the rest of the teams competing in Russia, Modric said: “I don’t know. We don’t have to think about this. We don’t have to enter into some kind of euphoria.

“We have to stay calm, we have to continue with what we are doing at the moment and just stay with two feet on the floor and think about next opponent.

“We don’t need to look now and talk about crazy things. We have to be calm and continue doing the things that we are doing. We have a great squad, a great team and a great belief about us. Hopefully we will continue to play the same way.”

With two wins from two, Croatia need only a point from Tuesday’s match with Iceland to seal top spot in Group D.