The Croatia head coach backed his captain, who will remain on the man on the spot for his nation
Croatia star Luka Modric will remain on penalty-taking duties despite his miss against Denmark, coach Zlatko Dalic said.
Penalties were needed to decide the last-16 matchup, with Croatia emerging from the 1-1 draw with a 3-2 victory on penalties.
Modric was denied from the spot late in extra time by Kasper Schmeichel, but stepped up to convert in a 3-2 shoot-out win, although his penalty was again unconvincing.
Dalic lauded Modric’s bravery and said the 32-year-old would be stepping up again if Croatia get another penalty.
“Luka Modric is our captain, our leader, and he showed great responsibility and courage that after he missed the penalty he again took it during the penalty kicks and he scored. That showed the class that he has,” he said.
“That’s the difference between an average player and a player like Luka. He scored, it wasn’t easy for him, he didn’t shoot it much better in the penalty shoot-out, but he was more lucky.
“That’s what happens when you are brave and you show courage during the game. Yes, if there’s another opportunity like that, he will shoot.”
Croatia advanced to a quarter-final meeting with hosts Russia, who stunned Spain in the last 16, in Sochi on Saturday.
Dalic is expecting another difficult encounter, saying: “You can see during the tournament that teams that focus on individuals don’t get very far. Teams that play good as a team advance.
“Everybody is trying to play with their approach and play the game in their own style as much as possible.
“It won’t be easy, Russia proved that by winning against Spain, so we expect a very tough game.”
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