Sports

Referee killed Croatia’s dream: Modric

Moscow, Jul 16 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/17/2018 12:36:18 AM IST
Luka Modric has accused referee Nestor Pitana of killing Croatia’s World Cup dream.
The Real Madrid midfielder blames Pitana for their 4-2 defeat against France in the World Cup Final, insisting the first two goals came from the match official’s mistakes.
Pitana awarded a soft free kick that led to the first when Antoine Griezmann appeared to dive over Marcelo Brozovic’s challenge. Mario Mandzukic headed the subsequent set piece into his own net to break the deadlock in the 18th minute.
Then when the score was 1-1, Pitana awarded a penalty for handball against Ivan Perisic on a VAR review. A clearly upset Modric said, “I think we were the better team. But sometimes better teams don’t win. The second goal was the turning point. Was I surprised the penalty was given? Yes. We were surprised because for the first goal he (Pitana) gave a foul which wasn’t and they scored from that.”
“After that we recovered, we played well, we played the best football and he gives the penalty to them. It kills you. It’s not easy to always come back and come back. We tried, we fought until the end but it wasn’t enough to win it.”
Modric’s displays throughout the past month led to him winning the Golden Ball award, an honour given to the best player at the tournament.
He added, “It’s not a big comfort because we lost in the end. Of course I am proud to receive this award. But I wanted to win this trophy with Croatia, unfortunately it couldn’t happen. Even though we lost, we need to enjoy this success because it is the biggest in Croatian football history and one of the biggest in Croatian sport overall.”
Modric turns 33 in September and yet he shows no sign of age as he continues to star for club and country.

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