The rain hid Croatia’s tears. After Luka Modric collected his Golden Ball award in a downpour, he shared an emotional embrace with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, both wearing the country’s red-and-white checkered uniform.
Croatia knows Sunday’s 4-2 loss to France in the World Cup final was a chance that may not come again anytime soon.
“We were so close and we played the best soccer. We deserved more,” said Modric, who at 32 may have played in his last World Cup match.
Croatia’s first golden generation lost to France in the 1998 World Cup semifinals, and its second went one better. Besides Modric, goalkeeper Danijel Subasic will be 38 at the next World Cup in Qatar, midfielder Ivan Rakitic will be 34 and forward Mario Mandzukic will be 36.
“I wish we are now 24, everyone and Luka especially,” Croatia defender Dejan Lovren said. Among a crowd of men in dark suits on the World Cup podium, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron Grabar-Kitarovic’s team shirt showed her passion for Croatia, a country of barely 4 million people.
Writer & Courtesy: The Pioneer