Sports, Football

Luka Modric unsure over Croatia future

Published : 14 Dec 2022 08:32 PM

Luka Modric remains undecided over retiring from international football after Croatia last night crashed out of the World Cup.

Croatia were beaten 3-0 by Argentina in Tuesday evening’s semi-final, as they failed to match their showpiece spot of four years ago.

It was 37-year-old Modric’s 161st game for his country, and he will be earning a 162nd cap in Saturday’s third-fourth play-off but beyond that remains to be seen.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” he said. “This is not the time to talk about this. We have a bronze medal to win now.”

Croatia started last night’s semi-final well only to ball behind when Lionel Messi scored a penalty in the 34th minute, conceded by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic after a foul on Julian Alvarez.

Croatia were unhappy with the awarding of that spot-kick and also believe they should have been awarded a corner in the build-up to it, with a shot from Ivan Perisic appearing to take a deflection off an Argentina defender on the way over the bar.

“It wasn’t a penalty for me,” said Modric. “I don’t usually talk about referees, but it’s impossible not to do so. [Daniele Orsato]’s one of the worst I know. I met him many times and I never had a good memory of him. He’s a disaster.

“The first goal, it was not a penalty, that’s my opinion. It stressed us a little bit. Half a minute before that it was supposed to be a corner and we were not awarded one.

“I think after the penalty, it changed the whole match. Before the penalty, we were the ones controlling the game. Maybe we were not so dangerous in front of their goal but we were the ones in possession, controlling the ball.

“Before the penalty they didn’t create any problems, any chances. Unfortunately, the penalty changed everything, a penalty I’d never have called in this match.

“I’m so upset they called this type of penalty against us. Their second goal - maybe we didn’t have a bit of luck. It was hard after that.”

Modric’s midfield partner, Mateo Kovacic, was also incensed by the performance of referee Daniele Orsato.

“It’s hard for me, I don’t know what to say,” said Kovacic. “We did our best, we could have done a little better.

“I can’t believe it's not a corner. Then the penalty…I have never commented on the referees nor is it my intention. But these are two cardinal mistakes, and it costs you.”