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    Modric sets sights on Nations League title for Croatia

    DOHA (AFP) – Luka Modric led Croatia to the bronze medal at the World Cup early yesterday and revealed he will extend his international career into 2023 in an attempt to win the Nations League.

    The 37-year-old won his 162nd cap in the 2-1 win over Morocco, four years after helping his country to the World Cup runners-up spot behind France.

    Croatia will now attempt to win the Nations League title next June in the four-team finals also featuring Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

    “That’s the plan,” said Modric when asked if he intends to keep playing international football.

    “It would be a nonsense not to play in the Nations League, and then we’ll see how to proceed. I definitely want to stay for the Nations League.”

    Luka Modric with teammates. PHOTO: AFP

    Croatia were defeated by a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina in the World Cup semi-finals but Modric insisted that his team have cemented a place amongst the heavyweights of the sport.

    “We achieved something major for the Croatian football. We wanted the gold, we were close,” he told broadcaster HRT.

    “In the end, we return to Croatia as winners. Croatia is not a miracle that appears every 20 years. We proved that we are constant, that we cannot be seen as dark horses but as a football power.”

    Even though Modric intends to keep playing at international level, coach Zlatko Dalic admitted that time is ticking on other senior players.

    “It’s the end of a cycle. It’s the last World Cup for some older players,” said the coach with one eye on the qualifying tournament for Euro 2024.

    “But we have very good young players who give hope, (Josip) Stanisic, (Mislav) Orsic, many players who are on the bench. We have a very good team for the future.”

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