Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 May 2019

Luka Modric proud to prove wrong English media who 'underestimated' Croatia

Defender Domagoj Vida apologises for comments made during World Cup about Ukraine

Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after his team reached the World Cup final. AP Photo
Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after his team reached the World Cup final. AP Photo

Croatia captain Luka Modric issued a withering rebuke to English journalists and pundits who had "underestimated" Croatia in his opinion after they reached the World Cup final at the expense of England.

He claimed detractors "should be more humble" and show greater respect after his side's 2-1 extra-time win ended England's hopes of glory in Russia.

Modric, who will on Sunday lead Croatia into their first ever World Cup final, suggested his team had set out to prove a point after noting unfavourable views aired by critics prior to Wednesday's match.

"Especially English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake," Modric told ITV Sport.


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"All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying, 'OK, today we will see who will be tired'.

"And like I said they should be more humble and respect more opponents.

"But we showed again that we we not tired, we dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects."

The Real Madrid midfielder, 32, has impressed in Russia and is now just a victory over France away from lifting the biggest prize in world football.

It would be a momentous occasion for Croatia, whose previous best performance was a semi-final loss to France in 1998.

"This is an amazing achievement for us," he said. "It's a dream come true after such a long time.

"We are in the final. It is the biggest success in Croatian history in sport and we have to be proud."

Meanwhile, Modric's teammate Domagoj Vida has apologised after speaking out in support of Russia’s neighbour and adversary Ukraine.

Spectators at Wednesday's match in Moscow booed and whistled the Croatia centre back, after a video posted online earlier in the week showed Vida, a former player with Ukrainian club side Dynamo Kiev, saying "Glory to Ukraine!".

"I know I made a mistake and I would like to apologise again to Russian people," Vida said, speaking in Russian in a live post-match interview with the Rossiya 24 state TV channel late on Wednesday.

"I'm sorry. That's life. You have to learn from your mistakes," he added.

Russia's relations with Ukraine have been fraught since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and backed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The booing and whistles rang out each time Vida touched the ball in the semi-final against England, starting about 30 minutes into the first half.

It did not appear to be coming from sections of the stadium where England supporters were concentrated. There were significant numbers of Russians in the stadium.

Fifa had ruled that Vida's comments in the video were not in keeping with tournament rules about political neutrality and its disciplinary committee issued a formal warning to the defender.

Updated: July 12, 2018 05:01 PM



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