Luka Modric believes England are one of the favorites to win the European Championship this summer – and thinks they are a better team than the one Croatia faced in the 2018 World Cup.
Modric was part of the Croatia squad that broke the hearts of English fans three years ago when they knocked out the Three Lions in the World Cup semi-finals, before losing to France in the final. .
As fate willed it, the pair were reunited in Euro 2020 Group D, alongside the Czech Republic and Scotland.
England and Croatia face off on Sunday at Wembley in their first game of the tournament, with live commentary on talkSPORT at 2pm.
Modric, one of the most influential players in world football, is preparing for a tough test.
The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner said: “For me they are better than three years ago. Without a doubt.
“The main threats? To say that one player is difficult because they have so many great players, talented players, young players who are hungry for success and who will be very dangerous at this Euro. For me, they are one of the favorites.
“Especially since they’re playing at home and it’s a good game for them. Advantage? It’s not huge but it’s like there won’t be any fans on the outside.
“That’s why I think they are definitely one of the favorites.”
Modric was instrumental in Croatia’s spectacular success against England in 2018, when Mario Mandzuki’s overtime goal earned them a 2-1 victory and a place in the World Cup final.
“I still remember a lot about the game,” Modric reminded talkSPORT.
“England started better, they scored early in the game and created extra chances and didn’t take them.
“As the minutes went by we started to raise our level of play and we were a much better team than England in the second half and overtime we were dominating in every aspect.
“We showed great character like in the previous match, we played 120 minutes and won on penalties.
“Coming back against England was a demonstration of our quality and character. At the time, they were a very good team and had a bright future ahead of them.
“In this game, we were better and deserved to pass. “
Former Modric manager Jose Mourinho joined talkSPORT on Friday morning ahead of Euro 2020 and hailed the Croatian midfielder as “one of the best in the tournament”.
Despite the range of talent they possess, they are still not considered to be one of the main challengers.
This suits Modric, however, who said: “It’s our fate that everyone underestimates us before a big tournament, but we don’t mind that people don’t see us as favorites.
“We are here and we will fight and give everything as we always give when playing for Croatia.
“We’ll see where we get to, at what stage of the tournament. We are not the same team as we were in the World Cup, there are players who have left and young people who have entered and it takes time for everything to fall into place.
“We are always dangerous for everything. I don’t think everyone is eager to play against us.
talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will have live commentary from EVERY Euro 2020 game. You won’t miss a thing as we provide you with 24-hour coverage, feedback and analysis from June 11 through July 11. Listen online HERE.
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