Modric In Croatia Squad For Fourth Finals

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric has been included in Croatia’s squad for what will be his fourth World Cup finals.

The 37-year-old midfielder, who was voted player of the tournament in Russia 2018, also represented Croatia at Germany 2006 and Brazil 2014.

Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic and Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic are also in the 26-man squad.

Croatia, who finished runners-up in Russia, are in Group E in Qatar, along with Belgium, Canada and Morocco.

West Ham’s Nikola Vlasic, who is currently on loan at Torino, is also in the squad, along with Scottish Premiership defenders Borna Barisic, of Rangers, and Celtic’s Josip Juranovic.

Dejan Lovren, 33, the former Liverpool and Southampton centre-back – who now plays at Zenit St Petersburg – returns after playing in the 2014 and 2018 World Cup finals.

Croatia beat Gareth Southgate’s England side in the semi-finals in Russia before losing 4-2 to France in the final.

It was their best performance in five appearances at the World Cup finals. Their previous best was a third-placed finish at France 1998 – the first World Cup finals following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

They go into the 2022 finals in good form after recently winning their Nations League group ahead of world champions France and Denmark.

As well as retaining a number of players from their 2018 side, Croatia also have some rising stars, such as 20-year-old RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol.

“The Nations League gave us the right to have high expectations, we played top matches and we are rightly optimistic,” said Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic.

“I believe in them. Luck is that young players have older players alongside them to mature. I believe these players can do a lot.”

Croatia’s first match is against Morocco on Wednesday, 23 November.

Croatia squad

Goalkeepers: Domink Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Ivusic (NK Osijek), Ivo Grbic (Atletico Madrid)

Defenders: Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Dejan Lovren (Zenit St Petersburg), Borna Barisic (Rangers), Josip Juranovic (Celtic), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Borna Sosa (VfB Stuttgart), Josip Stanisic (Bayern Munich), Martin Erlic (Sassuolo), Josip Sutalo (Dinamo Zagreb)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Nikola Vlasic (Torino, on loan from West Ham), Lovro Majer (Rennes), Kristijan Jakic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Luka Sucic (RB Salzburg)

Forwards: Ivan Perisic (Tottenham), Andrej Kramaric (1899 Hoffenheim), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marko Livaja (Hajduk Split)