In the latest Croatia news, Luka Modric believes his side have laid their previous ghosts to rest following their penalty shoot-out triumph over Demark at the World Cup on Sunday.
The two teams went head-to-head during their last-16 encounter in Nizhny Novgorod and could not be separated with the score at 1-1 after the regulation 90 minutes.
During extra time Croatia missed a great chance to win the match when they were awarded a penalty, but Real Madrid star Modric saw his spot-kick saved by Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
That meant penalties were required to decide who would face Russia in the last eight and it was Croatia that held their nerve, as they won the shootout 3-2, with goalkeeper Danijel Subasic emerging as the hero as he saved three Danish efforts.
Modric also proved his mettle by converting his penalty just minutes after he had missed during extra time, while Croatia’s success also helped to right the wrongs from their last penalty shootout, which ended in a defeat to Turkey at Euro 2008.
Modric missed from the spot during that defeat 10 years ago, but he believes Sunday’s success has helped erase the heartache of that memory.
“It says a lot, because it was not an easy game,” said Modric. “From 2008 we never passed this first knockout game. And it was very important for us to take the monkey off the back. And we did it.
“Especially, missing a penalty in the last few minutes of the match, you must have big character and team spirit, and everything to stay calm, stay focused everyone and to win the game.
“It was not easy, because the Turkey game was still in everyone’s mind. Because it was so tough for us, that defeat.”
Croatia, who are priced at 5/1 with Coral to win the World Cup, will now face hosts Russia for a place in the semi-finals on Saturday and Modric is convinced there is more to come from his side.
“‘We showed character and mentality throughout this competition from the first game,” Modric added. “This team has character, that is without doubt. But now we need to continue, this team can do much more, and hopefully we will do it.”