Zlatko Dalic confidently declared the World Cup in Qatar will not be Luka Modric’s last international tournament as the Croatia head coach insisted the midfielder will “strive for self-improvement”.
Croatia have become accustomed to requiring extra time and penalties at FIFA’s top tournament, edging past Japan with a shoot-out victory on Monday to tee up a quarter-final clash with Brazil.
Dalic’s side needed penalties to defeat Denmark and Russia, then extra time against England, as they reached the final in 2018, the year in which Modric won the Ballon d’Or with his efforts for club and country.
The Real Madrid veteran is now 37, yet Dalic has no doubts he can call upon the evergreen veteran past the tournament in Qatar.
“This will not be Luka’s last tournament,” Dalic said. “He will continue to play for Croatia, I am absolutely certain of that.
“Luka continues to work hard and he continues to strive for self-improvement. We will need him for some time more in the future.”
The dream continues.
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10)
Croatia have a fine record at the World Cup, finishing third in 1998 and runners-up in 2018, with another chance to reach the last four if they can overcome Brazil at the Education City Stadium on Friday.
Dalic believes the performances of Croatia on the global stage are “unrivalled” as his side aim to cause an upset against one of the pre-tournament favourites.
“The results we have produced at the World Cup and in European Championships over the last few years are unrivalled for a country of our size,” he added.
“I believe this team has given great success to our people – and when you look at it this really is a miracle.
“We have become a force in world football because we are a nation who always feels like we have to prove ourselves.”