Luka Modric: Croatia's Euro 2024 campaign has been 'unfair'

  • Croatia on verge of Euro 2024 elimination at group stage
  • Italy held Croatia to 1-1 draw on Monday thanks to 98th-minute equaliser from Mattia Zaccagni
  • Luka Modric devastated about Croatia's 'cruel' tournament
Modric's Euro 2024 may be over
Modric's Euro 2024 may be over / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Luka Modric bemoaned that football is 'merciless and cruel' after Croatia's 1-1 draw with Italy left them on the brink of Euro 2024 elimination.

Croatia have taken only two points from their group stage games and are in need of a minor miracle to secure a spot in the last 16. They finished third in Group C and need England to beat Slovenia by at least three goals on Tuesday to stand a chance of ranking among the four best third-place teams which would see them through to the knockout stage.

Modric scored the opening goal of Croatia's matchday three encounter with Italy, but they were pegged back by a 98th-minute equaliser from Mattia Zaccagni which proved to be the final kick of the game.

This was the second successive game in which Croatia conceded deep into stoppage time, succumbing to a 95th-minute goal from Klaus Gjasula during their 2-2 draw with Albania.

Speaking after Monday's stalemate with Italy, an emotional Modric claimed Croatia's campaign has been slightly "unfair" due to their commitment and passion.

"We kept battling right until the end but unfortunately football was merciless tonight, football was cruel," the Real Madrid midfielder said. "Not only today but also in our last game when we conceded a late goal.

"It's hard when you lose like this to find the words to describe how you feel. Of course we need to bounce back but that’s the way it is. Perhaps it's unfair because we all fought for Croatia from the first whistle to the last, the footballing gods don't always smile on us."

Croatia are now staring down the barrel of a first group stage elimination since their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign, while they have have only twice gone out before the knockout rounds of a European Championship twice when competing as an independent nation.