The precision and magic that Modric seemed to be missing in his previous matches for Madrid were back on display as he led Croatia to a convincing 4-1 victory over Greece.
Croatia looked to put the visitors under pressure from kickoff and were rewarded a penalty after 10 minutes following a poorly controlled back-pass to the keeper, who slid and fouled Kalinic in the penalty area. Modric stepped up and confidently converted the penalty as the goalkeeper guessed the wrong way. The Croatians struck again just 10 minutes later from a poorly defended cross, and a classy flick from Kalinic.
Greece made it 2-1 from a corner in the 30th minute — however Croatia responded just three minutes later with a precision cross to Perisic who made it 3-1 going into halftime. Croatia scored their fourth just minutes after half — a penetrating ball from Rakitic was poorly dealt with by the Greek fullback who looked to chest the ball to his keeper, which was rather intercepted and tapped in from close range.
The Croatians put in a convincing shift in front of their home fans whereas their Greek counterparts struggled the entire match. Rakitic and Modric dominated the center of the field; the former as the deep lying playmaker and the latter as the spearhead of the attack. Despite their slight physical edge, Greece was unable to gain any meaningful possession. Croatia has a healthy balance of youth, experience, speed, practicality, and heart. Modric and Kovacic look like they have one foot in the door for Russia next summer.
The second leg will be played on Sunday November 22nd at 20:45 local time.