Croatia news

Modric: We can hurt Spain

Tottenham star urges Croatia to take chances against champions

ESPN staff

Luka Modric: Barcelona link© PA

Luka Modric insists Croatia can hurt world champions Spain in their Group C decider, as long as they are clinical in front of goal.

Modric is backing striker Mario Mandzukic to continue his streak of scoring form and add to the three goals he has already netted at the tournament.

And the Tottenham Hotspur star, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona, thinks Croatia have the quality to shock the defending European champions in Gdansk.

"This is the match in which all of us can prove ourselves," he said. "We are convinced that we can reach the quarter finals."

But Modric isn't underestimating the task at hand and expects Spain to have large chunks of possession in the match, and warned his side to be compact.

"It is a big challenge for all of us to play a team like Spain," he added. "Of course, they'll control possession, and for how long, that probably depends on them.

"However, we have to posture solid in the middle, try to block their play and push them as far from our goal as possible.

"As I said before, I'm convinced that there will be periods where we'll be on top. That means that we'll have some chances, and we'll have to take one of them."

Modric is backing Mandzukic to find the net should any of those chances come his way after the Wolfsburg striker claimed all three of Croatia's goals in the competition to date.

"Mario [Mandzukic] is fantastic," he said. "He is fast, explosive; the player which can score even from the most difficult situations. But it is important to provide him chances to score."

Speculation connected Mandzukic with a move to Everton on Sunday, to link up with his Croatia strike partner Nikica Jelavic. The 26-year-old has two years left on his Wolfsburg contract but the German club are looking to sell him this summer.

As for Modric, the Barcelona link has certainly piqued his interest. "Of course, I love to hear things like that, but it just motivates me more to play better and show I can be even more dangerous."

© ESPN

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