(EFE) – The decisive appearance of Luka Modric this Tuesday saved Croatia from the precipitous goodbye in the Eurocup and gave him the pass, as second in the group, to the round of 16 that resist Scotland (3-1), a more and more stagnant in the first round of a major tournament.
The Real Madrid midfielder scored the goal that put the world runner-up ahead and then gave the pass in a corner kick that Ivan Perisic signed to sentence the match. Two decisive appearances, in decisive moments, that drove a Balkan team that reached the clash plagued with doubts, far from the expected level and with the threat of elimination under its arm.
Scotland once again fell prey to the black legend that haunts them in the World Cups and the European Championships. In the end Steve Clarke opted for natural change and it was Stuart Armstrong who took over from Billy Gilmour, isolated since Monday for positive for coronavirus. The Scottish coach maintained confidence in the rest of his team, while Croatia waved their squad in search of a necessary victory.
Zlatko Dalic, from the start, put Luka Modric ahead and selected Josip Juranovic on the right back instead of Atlético Madrid player Sime Vrsaljko. He recovered Marcelo Brozovic for his eleven and relied on Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic as an attack.
Scotland was faithful to its philosophy to seek their entry into history and, for the first time, make it through the group stage of a major tournament. He exerted strong pressure, push and courage.
But the Croatian quality prevailed in much of the first half and after the shock caused by a center to the area by John McGinn, which was not reached by Che Adams, the Balkan team settled down and took the lead on the scoreboard.
It was past the initial quarter of an hour when a lateral pass to the area from the right of Josip Juranovic reached the head of Ivan Perisic, who left the ball dead at the penalty spot for Nikola Vlasic to pick it up, scoring his third goal as an international and overtake Croatia.
There were immediately two threats from Scotland, disorderly, which did not bear fruit and to which Steve Clarke’s team wanted to tie to initiate its reaction.
After this pair of outbursts, of fury, Scotland began to accuse the goal. He got muddled, left spaces for his rival and, in addition, lost one of the pillars of his defense, Grant Hanley, who, injured, had to give way to Scott McKenna after half an hour.
But at his worst, just before the break, a Robertson cross into the box was rejected by the Croatian defense and, from outside the area, Callum McGregor executed a low shot that surpassed Dominik Livakovic and equalized the game.
A great pass from Vlasic left Joskon Gvardiol alone, who controlled the ball poorly and collided with goalkeeper David Marshall early in the second half. The tie was of no use to any of them. The party stirred.
Luka Modric appeared and his team noticed. First with a good pass to Perisic to which Scotland responded with a good option from John McGinn who went away, and then with his goal.
The hour of the game was passing when the ball circled the local area. Mateo Kovacic found the Real Madrid midfielder in the crescent, who executed a precise shot, with the outside of his right foot, that surpassed Marshall. Croatia took the lead.
Scotland squeezed, giving speed to the game, momentum and long balls, direct and to the area. It came more to the area of Croatia, which could not take the reins in the chaos.
Modric also led the third, which sentenced the crash. He threw a corner, found Perisic at the near post and his header was impossible for the local goal. Croatia closed the victory and secured their qualification for the round of 16 as second in the group.