Luka Modrić may not have been among the goals in Croatia's 2-1 Group B victory against Germany, but his "outstanding contribution" in Klagenfurt was enough to earn the midfielder the Carlsberg Man of the Match award.
While Darijo Srna and Ivica Olić got on the scoresheet for Croatia, before Lukas Podolski halved the deficit with eleven minutes to play, the 22-year-old Modrić again impressed with his maturity and all-round play. After receiving the award, he said: "It means a lot to me. I am very happy with it but the most important thing is that we won and played very well. We were motivated and wanted to show everybody that we had a bad day against Austria. When our opponents are strong we play our best football and this is what we did against Germany. Expectations have been great and now I believe we have shown that we can rightfully aspire to a great result here."
The No14 will leave NK Dinamo Zagreb in his homeland for Tottenham Hotspur FC after UEFA EURO 2008™, and the Londoners will not be regretting paying a club record-equalling €21m fee based on his showings in Austria so far. Modrić and company wasted little time establishing control over Germany's midfield at the Wörthersee Stadion, and could have gone in at the break with more than a one-goal lead. "We are not surprised by how many openings we created and we think we played an excellent match," he added. "Our movement was good and when we do that, we are very dangerous and can create many chances against any side – not just Germany."
The Carlsberg Man of the Match award is decided by the UEFA Technical Team, and one of its members, the former France, Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais coach Gérard Houllier, said of Modrić: "Not only is he a very hard worker, he has a good brain and he provided some calmness and composure to the midfield. His passing was neat and his contribution was outstanding. He was not only winning the ball, he was passing well. We thought that he was very influential. He did not just work hard, he made the other people play well around him."
Modrić will be in the euro2008.com chatroom from 16.00CET on Friday so join us then to put your questions to the Croatia playmaker.
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