Modric: Croatia played like a big national team


Luka Modric says Croatia's players know how good they are and feels their play was like that of a top nation after kicking off Euro 2016 with a 1-0 win over Turkey at Parc des Princes.

The Real Madrid midfielder's stunning volley in the 41st minute proved decisive for Ante Cacic's men, although the margin of victory could have been greater, with Darijo Srna and Ivan Perisic both hitting the woodwork.

Ahead of the match, Modric insisted Croatia had to target a deep run in the tournament and the 30-year-old feels the impressive start against Turkey is only the first step.

"We are happy with our performance as a team in a very difficult game," he told HTV.  

"Everyone who watched us can be happy. We are aware of our quality, but it is only the beginning - this is an important first step. 

"We could have scored two or three more goals and this gives us confidence. We played better than Turkey."

Modric added at his post-match press conference: "We stood on the pitch really tough and played like a big national team. I think we are a big national team.

"My goal? It came to me and I hit it with a volley! I kicked the ball in a perfect way and, thank God, I scored. I am really happy about this goal but I am even more happy about our victory and the three points.

"It was important not just to keep a 1-0 lead, but to continue in the second half. The fans were great and they pushed us when we got tired."

Modric's team-mate Ivan Rakitic was similarly impressed by Croatia's performance and relished the opportunity to play against his Barcelona colleague Arda Turan.

He said: "I played against Arda, my brother, and it was a great pleasure to play against him.

"We played well. Again it was a difficult game as it was in all our games against Turkey in the past. 

"Our matches are always battles - Vedran Corluka was hit in a head, Perisic got cramp - it was hard. I have all the respect for Turkey but I think we played better.

"We were good. We spoke before the match when we saw the stadium said, 'If we don't fight here, with all this support, we were better not coming'."