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Luka Modric calls for check on emotions, seeks final hurrah in FIFA World Cup 2018

Luka Modric says determination and self-belief were always more important than physical stature in football and that will be as true in Sunday’s FIFA World Cup 2018 final as in any other match.

football Updated: Jul 14, 2018 21:02 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, Moscow
Luka Modric,FIFA World Cup 2018,FIFA World Cup 2018 final
Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after his team advanced to the FIFA World Cup 2018 final .(AP)

Star midfielder Luka Modric insists Croatia must keep emotions in check when they face France in the FIFA World Cup 2018 final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday.

“We have to leave emotions aside and give more than we’ve given on the pitch in the previous matches. We want to make everyone happy,” said Modric. “Just because this is a huge game, we should not change anything. We need to be relaxed, prepare in the same way we prepared for the other games.”

Asked about his diminutive stature and how his World Cup showing has helped change the conversation over physicality in football, Modric said: “I’ve always ignored such talk. You don’t have to be a giant to play football. I’m happy with where I am and I never cared what anyone else said. It only further motivated me.”

The Real Madrid star also had words of praise for head coach Zlatko Dalic. “He came into the picture at a very difficult moment,” said Modric. “We like having him around, he’s shown his influence, not just as a coach but more importantly as a human being,” said Modric.

Coach Dalic said Croatia are keen to get some much-needed rest ahead of the final although he brushed aside concerns of fatigue for his players who have been involved in three gruelling knockout-stage games.

“We have nothing to practice. We need relaxation and rest to regain freshness. We have some minor injuries, minor problems. I hope we will overcome those and all my players will be ready to play in the final. If they aren’t, we have great players on the bench who are raring to go,” said Dalic.

It will be a special night for Croatia as they play their first-ever final and Dalic said: “(Irrespective of the result) we can’t be more joyous and proud when we see what joy we have brought to the country. Win or lose (on Sunday), it will be a seismic event and this brings us strength and motivation.”

“There can be no better moment for a player or a coach. Whatever happens, we will be happy and proud because we deserved it,” said Dalic.

First Published: Jul 14, 2018 20:59 IST