Tireless Modric ready for last World Cup run with Croatia

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Luka Modric will get another World Cup. A campaign to lead Croatia to the title.

The 37-year-old midfielder will lead Croatia when they play their Group F opener against Morocco on Wednesday, a hurdle the 2018 runners-up hope to clear comfortably before facing Canada and then-No. 2 ranked Belgium. Kevin De Bruyne.

Four years ago, Modric worked tirelessly and was awarded the player of the tournament award as Croatia reached the final, where they lost 4-2 to France.

Only five of the players who started the 2018 final are in Croatia’s squad after coach Zlatko Delek’s rebuild. Consistent is Modric, who is still central to everything Croatia do and is more important to his team’s prospects for Argentina than Lionel Messi. and Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal.

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The Real Madrid player has confirmed that the tournament will mark the end of a 16-year international career.

It will be the opening game against the Moroccans in Al Khor, north of Doha, where temperatures are forecast to push 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) by kick-off. That heat shouldn’t be a problem against the North Africans, though, thanks to the cooling systems used in this year’s World Cup stadiums.

“The conditions here have been better than I expected,” said Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric, a substitute in the 2018 final. “And considering the air conditioning in the stadiums, it (may) get colder during the games.”

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The climate in the Moroccan camp has also cooled significantly following a heated spat between former head coach Wahid Hillelhodzic and Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech. It saw Zech banished from the squad last year for what Hillelhodzic called his “unacceptable” behaviour.

The result threatens Morocco, who desperately need all their talent overseas for the World Cup, without one of their best players. Despite Morocco qualifying for the World Cup, Halilhodzic was sacked and replaced by Walid Regargui, who promptly recalled Zech.

Zech hit the ground running and scored a stunning goal from his own half in Morocco’s final warm-up before the World Cup.

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But the coaching change only came at the end of August, giving Regargoi, who has never been an international coach before, just two months to make his big mark on a team that has already been at the World Cup, notably But was expected to struggle against Croatia. and Belgium.

That may not be enough time for the 47-year-old Regragai to get anything special from Morocco, who made it out of the group stage just once at the 1986 World Cup.


AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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