Luka Modric and Croatia lost the opening Group Stage match of the European Championship 1-0 to England. Modric played the full 90 minutes.
The Three Lions started strongly at Wembley in London, England. They got forward well and pressed and counter-pressed to force Croatia into turnovers in their own half. Modric was positioned high up the pitch early in the match, defensively. He was strong on the ball and was the only player who looked comfortable building out of England’s pressure.
England nearly took the lead in the sixth minute. The Three Lions took a quick throw-in to Raheem Sterling. Sterling drove toward the back line and played it wide to Phil Foden. The young Englishman took a touch inside before smashing his shot off of the goalpost. Three minutes later, Kalvin Phillips hit a volley from distance which the Croatian keeper pushed wide.
Croatia withstood England’s early pressure without conceding. Modric dropped a little deeper defensively, which allowed him to more easily contribute to Croatia’s build-up when they won the ball back. Modric got more involved which allowed Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic more time on the ball.
As the first half progressed, Croatia’s midfield was better able to deal with the Three Lions’ press and took control of the match. They found the fullbacks down the flanks and created problems for the English defense but they were unable to create clear-cut chances in the first half.
England broke the deadlock in the 57th minute. Kyle Walker found Phillips running into the final third. Phillips took a touch around a Croatian and the defense opened up. He slid the ball through to Sterling, who sidefooted the ball past the keeper into the goal.
The Three Lions nearly doubled the score moments later. Mason Mount curled a low cross behind the Croatian defense and Harry Kane threw himself at the ball at the back post but couldn’t steer it on target.
Croatia responed with their own spell of pressure but couldn’t break England down centrally and were forced to play it wide and cross. England’s defenders did well to defend the service.
England sat back as Croatia possessed and tried to break the Three Lions down in search of an equalizer. England defended well and tried to hit the Croatians on the counter. Neither team were successful and the match ended 1-0.
Luka Modric and Croatia are back in action in their second Group Stage match against the Czech Republic. Kick-off is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday, June 18 at Hampden Park.