Modric hints that this could be his last Euro appearance

Luka Modric. Source: X

After the 1-1 draw with Italy that all but knocked his team out, Croatia captain Luka Modric hinted that Euro 2024 might be his last European Championships appearance. “I’d love to play forever,” the Real Madrid midfielder admitted, “but there will probably come a time when I have to hang up my boots.”

Croatia took the lead in the 55th minute with a goal from Modric, who redeemed himself after missing a penalty just moments earlier. However, their hopes of advancing were dashed in the eighth minute of stoppage time when Mattia Zaccagni curled a stunning shot past the Croatian goalkeeper.

Croatia’s qualification now hangs in the balance, dependent on the outcome of the England vs. Slovenia match. England, runners-up in the last Euros, need a victory by a margin of three goals to alter Croatia’s fate.

Zlatko Dalić’s team, who finished third at the last World Cup and were runners-up in 2018, couldn’t replicate their past success in this continental tournament. Following a Round of 16 exit at the previous Euros, there were hopes that Croatia would make amends, especially for their legendary 38-year-old captain.

Prior to the Italy match, Croatia suffered a 3-0 defeat to Spain and were held to a 2-2 draw by Albania. Holding onto their lead against Italy would have secured them a second-place finish in the group. However, Zaccagni’s late strike shattered their hopes, leaving Modric, who was subbed off in the 80th minute, to watch from the sidelines.

“That was incredibly stressful,” a visibly disappointed Modric, who was also named Man of the Match, told reporters. “We fought hard until the very end, but unfortunately, football wasn’t kind to us tonight. It felt especially cruel, not just today, but also in our last game when we conceded another late goal.

“But that’s part and parcel of football,” he continued. “Often, it gives you plenty of smiles, but on other occasions, it makes you very sad as it did today, losing in the manner we did. It’s hard when you lose like this to find the words to describe how you feel. Of course, we need to bounce back. But that’s the way it is.”

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