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?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine