Luka Modric is a living legend for Croatia.
Croatia defeated Armenia 1-0 in the 10th match of Group D of the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, Croatia, at 4:45 a.m. ET on June 22. With the win, Croatia secured second place in the group with 16 points and booked their ticket to Euro 2024.
Croatia dominated the match. With nearly 70 percent of the ball possession, the Croatians had their sights set on Armenia’s goal. In the first half alone, the Croats fired 12 shots, six on target. Eventually, it paid off. Ante Budimir opened the scoring in the 43rd minute. Croatia held on for the 1-0 victory.
The win secured Croatia’s direct qualification to Euro 2024. It is the seventh time they have qualified. Croatia made their first appearance at a European tournament at UEFA Euro 1996 in England. They failed to qualify in 2000, but have qualified for six consecutive tournaments since 2004.
Croatia’s best result at the tournament was a quarterfinal appearance at UEFA Euro 2008 in Austria-Switzerland. At the 2020 tournament, they reached the round of 16 before falling to Spain in a penalty shootout.
Croatia owes much of its glory to Modric. Modric has been a fixture in Croatia’s midfield since the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Since then, they have played in four World Cups together. He was with them in 2014, 2018, and 2022, reaching the final at the 2018 World Cup and even winning the title.
Modric has been with Croatia every step of the way at the Euros. Modric was the starting midfielder at UEFA Euro 2008 in Austria-Switzerland and at Euros 2012, 2016, and 2020. In this UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, Modric started every game and helped lead the team to qualification.
The upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 tournament in Germany is likely to be the last dance for Modric. Modric was born in 1985 and is approaching the age of 38. It wouldn’t be surprising if he retired anytime soon.
“The important thing is that we made it to the Euros,” he said in a post-match interview. There are a lot of things we can do much better. I’m not happy with a lot of things, but I’m sure we’ll be better when some of the players come back. But the most important thing is that we qualified.”