Croatia skipper Luka Modric has cautioned pre-tournament favorites Brazil ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup clash, claiming that even the favorites can be beaten.
Brazil and Croatia will square off at the Education City Stadium for a place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finals on Friday evening (9 December).
Selecao are coming into the match in great spirits, having secured an emphatic 4-1 win over South Korea in the round of 16.
Luka Modric’s Croatia, on the other hand, beat Japan 3-1 on penalties (1-1 after extra time) to secure passage to the quarter-finals.
Friday’s match will mark Brazil and Croatia’s third meeting at the FIFA World Cup, with the five-time winners beating the Europeans on the last two occasions. At a press conference, Modric acknowledged the excellent record Canarinho held against them, but warned that could change on Friday. Modric, as relayed by The Mirror, said:
“Brazil are always one of the big favourites in every World Cup, but what they have shown in this tournament is that this time they deserve to be favourites. We have faced Brazil before on several occasions and not won. We believe this can change.”
“We will have to play at a high tempo, keep them under control, be strong and assertive and not let them out of sight. Like I say, Brazil are the favourites – but we have seen that even the favourites can be beaten.”
Brazil and Croatia’s first World Cup meeting came in 2006, in the group stage. The South Americans recorded a 1-0 victory on that occasion. The pair met in the group stage eight years later. Brazil once again came out on top, securing a 3-1 win.
The two teams have met twice more in friendlies. The first one ended in a 1-1 draw in 2005 while the second game was won 2-0 by the Selecao in 2018.
Luka Modric could prove to be Brazil’s Kryptonite in Friday’s FIFA World Cup clash
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is the glue that holds Croatia together. He dictates the tempo of the game from the middle of the park, breaks through the defensive lines with his darting runs, and is more than capable of finding the back of the net. Most importantly, he has a knack for stepping up in the biggest games.
The 2018 Golden Ball winner has not yet recorded a goal or an assist at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, he has been at the heart of everything positive for the Croats so far. Against Japan, Modric played eight passes into the final third, delivered four accurate long balls, and completed 63 passes (89% accuracy).
Unless Tite finds a way to stop the Croat from stretching his legs, Brazil could be in for a scary ride on Friday.