Football

Modric slams English media for lacking humility, Croatian press gloat

After reaching the World Cup final, Croatia captain Luka Modric aimed a dig the English media and former players for a perceived lack of humility and underestimating his team.

The Real Madrid midfielder played a pivotal role in his nation's first World Cup semi-final success yesterday morning (Singapore time) as they fought back from going down to Kieran Trippier free-kick after just five minutes to win the game 2-1 in extra-time after goals by Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic.

Modric told British broadcaster ITV: "We showed again we were not tired. We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects.

"English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia and that was a huge mistake. They should be more humble and respect opponents more.

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

His feelings were echoed by his coach Zlatko Dalic, who said: "Those experts who thought that England would progress to the final are not experts. If they were, they would have known Croatia are the better team."

Ironically, after their nation's historic triumph at the Luzhniki Stadium, it was the Croatian media who were slighting the English.

On national broadcaster HRT, Croatian legend Robert Prosinecki said: "We murdered the English in the second half!"

Fellow former international Josko Jelicic added: "(England) have nothing to cry about - they were knocked out by the future world champions.

"We played a mature game, the English were unbelievably inferior."

It was a similar tone in the nation's publications and news websites.

The Vecernji list newspaper ran articles titled "Football's not coming home" and had a photo collage titled "Look how the English cry after losing to Croatia".

Sports newspaper Sportske novosti, meanwhile, wrote: "France, who are better than England, can hardly stop (Croatia). That will be a true final, a top clash between the two sides who have shown the most at the tournament."

Football