Modric says Croatia squad must be calm under pressure for World Cup final

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Moscow, July 14 (IANS) Croatia captain Luka Modric on Saturday said his team would work to stay calm under pressure and focus on overcoming France in the final match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Croatia has a chance to win its first World Cup title in Sunday’s final, as their previous best-ever result was finishing in third place at the 1998 World Cup, the same tournament in which hosts France won their first title, reported Efe.

“We have to leave emotions aside and give more than we’ve given on the pitch in the previous matches, because it’s the (World Cup) final,” Modric said during a press conference.

Should his team win the title, the Real Madrid midfielder said it would be dedicated to the late Croatian goalkeeper Ivan Turina, who died five years ago at just 32 years old, and “to all the people of the country.”

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Modric added that, in the minutes before Sunday’s final, he would evoke the message to “go out and enjoy” the game, given by the late Barcelona coach Johann Cruyff to his team right before their 1992 UEFA Champions League championship match.

“That is the same message our coach transmits to us. Zlatko Dalic wants us to have fun and to enjoy playing football,” he added.

Tipped to win the award for the best player of the World Cup as well as the Ballon d’Or, given his performance throughout the tournament, Modric said “an individual award is not a priority,” adding: “I want my team to win tomorrow. The other things are out of my control.”

–IANS

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