In the 114th minute of an epic European Championship evening, a lot of questions and felt like the end of an era. There are only six minutes left until the end of the second half of extra time in this 3-5 knockout round defeat against Spain. The best and most successful player in Croatian football history at the time was transformed and thousands of fans chanted at the Copenhagen stadium: “Luca Modric, Luca Motric”.
35 years old for Real Madrid playmaker. After being knocked out of this European Championship, he opened up about whether he would play for his national team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “We’ll see. We need to relax well and think of everything. Now is not the time to talk about it, “said David Cook, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureauRT.
With Modric, the Croatians reached the World Cup final three years ago. With Modric, they contributed to one of the most spectacular evenings of this European Championship on Monday evening, capturing a 3-1 deficit against Spain between the 85th and 92nd minutes, followed by extra time with two goals from Alvaro Morata (100.) and Michael Orsable (103rd). Lost.
But even this evening it was clear that the Croatians were not as good now as they were in 2018. In no time they will ever get that good again. Modric alone cannot hide the problems that arose after the World Cup. This requires a new spirit in the team, and a lot of young players need to move up.
Changes after the 2018 World Cup
“We gave it our all,” Maestro said after the game. “We can be happy with our attitude, our characters and our morals, but Spain was better in important situations. We have to congratulate them.” The Spaniards met the Croatians in the second match after the 2018 World Cup final. The game ended 6-0 in the Nations League and was a warning to coach Slotko Talik.
Because he has joined his team a lot in the last three years. Major players such as Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic ended their national team careers. Others did not have the necessary tension after their victory in Russia. There was fermentation on the team between older and younger players. It can already be heard after the preliminary round matches against England (0: 1) and the Czech Republic (1: 1), and it became clear in Copenhagen when we met the Spaniards again.
Return from Croatia
Because of Petrie’s own goal (20) to make it 1-0, former Frankfurt’s Ande Rebic left the field half time before changing his shoes. The Croatians were in short supply, with Spain scoring 1-1 at exactly this time through Pablo Sarabia (38th) – especially since Modric Repic had made his dissatisfaction very clear.
This frustrating E.M. Mislav Arsik (85th) and Mario Basalik (90th + 2) and Ferran Torres (77th) suddenly found strength after 1: 2 by Caesar Asbiliquetta (57th). Catch a race that is no longer expected.
One of the best talents is Vlasic
There are only over four million people in Croatia. No one can expect this small country to be associated with the big football nations for a long time. However, it has also become clear that Belgium, which has not been big lately, is showing more consistency in important matches. Portugal, which is not large, produces significantly more talent in comparison.
CSKA Moscow midfielder Nikola Vlasic is one of the youngest Croatians. After the European Championships, the brother of former high jump world champion Blanca Vlasic showed the heart and emotions that his team often appeared in this competition. “When we scored two equalizers, my heart was as big as a house.”, he said. “But when the Spaniards met again, this house really collapsed. I had never seen anything like it.”