Croatia midfielder Luka Modric relishing Spain clash

 

Luka Modric is calling for more of the same as Croatia attempt to book their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 with a game to spare.

Slaven Bilic's side opened their campaign with a resounding 3-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland in Poznan last night and top Group C after Italy and Spain drew in Gdansk.

The Croatians and the Italians go head-to-head in Poznan on Thursday evening with Modric and his team-mates knowing a second win would assure them of a place in the last eight before their final group game against Spain.

He said: "That's an amazing game for us as well. I hope we can repeat this performance on Thursday evening and I hope we can win against Italy as well.

"It is going to be a different game, but we have to prepare well, bring this performance and play like we did last night."

The draw between the group's two big guns did Croatia little harm, although Modric insisted they did not even consider what was happening in Gdansk as they finalised their preparations for Ireland.

He said: "It has given us confidence because we won. That game didn't bother us that much and we were only focused on our game and how to win.

"Now we have four days to think about Italy. I hope we prepare well, like we did for Ireland."

Bilic had spoken of his confidence ahead of the game that Croatia would prevail if they played to the best of their ability and in truth, they claimed the points comfortably on a night when the Irish were not at their best, particularly at the back.

Mario Mandzukic got them off to the perfect start with a third-minute header and, after strike-partner Nikica Jelavic restored the lead in the wake of Sean St Ledger's equaliser, the Wolfsburg man saw his 48th-minute header come back off the post and go in off luckless keeper Shay Given.

Modric said: "We played excellently and dominated Ireland in a big part of the game.

"We didn't allow them to have so many set-pieces because we knew they were dangerous from set-pieces.

"In the end, they scored one and that was it. We prepared very well for this game and we showed that."

Asked about the contribution of the in-form Jelavic, Modric was effusive in his praise.

He said: "He has brought his form to the national team. That is what we expected from him.

"Our team knows if he has a chance, he will score, and he showed that. Mandzukic as well played an amazing game. Overall, all the team, every player, was at a high level."

Modric, whose future at Tottenham remains a topic for speculation, was shedding little light on what may or may not lie ahead this summer, and insisted he was thinking no further ahead than the Euros.

He said: "Of course it is very important. When I am playing for Croatia it is always different to playing for a club because it is a bigger responsibility on us.

"The Croatian people are expecting and expectations are high from us, and thankfully we played a great game.

"We fulfilled their expectation and we are extremely happy that we won, and now we have to prepare well for Thursday for Italy."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea