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euro 2020 Croatia's Luka Modric hits out at England's arrogance, but he is not blaming their players

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Luka Modric starred in the 2018 World Cup semi-final against England (Adam Davy/PA)

Luka Modric starred in the 2018 World Cup semi-final against England (Adam Davy/PA)

Luka Modric starred in the 2018 World Cup semi-final against England (Adam Davy/PA)

Croatia captain Luka Modric believes there has been a sense of arrogance around the England team but knows Gareth Southgate’s side carry no such ego and are ready for battle in Sunday’s Euro 2020 opener.

Three years ago the 35-year-old ran the show and broke the Three Lions’ hearts in Russia, where he inspired Zlatko Dalic’s men to a 2-1 extra-time comeback win in the World Cup semi-finals.

Modric took aim at English journalists and comments after that victory, saying underestimating Croatia was a “huge mistake” and that “they should be more humble and respect more opponents”.

The Real Madrid midfielder said talk of football coming home lit a fire in their dressing room, but he attempted to avoid making any inflammatory comments on the eve of the Group D encounter at Wembley.

“That arrogance, it’s not so much related to the players and to the England national team but to the people around them – some of the journalists, commentators and so forth,” Modric said.

“Recently, to be honest, I didn’t read too much of the media outlets.

“I’m looking forward to the match and I don’t want to say too much about what’s on the other sides.”

Veteran midfielder Modric shows few signs of slowing up and remains a key player for Croatia, who he helped win at Wembley in 2007 to deny Steve McClaren’s Three Lions a place at Euro 2008.

“I expect an English team that is going to be very aggressive, very powerful from the very beginning,” he said.

“It’s going to have its public also on its side at the beginning of the Euros and I expect a very strong game.

“It’s up to us to give whatever we can, all we can, to do as much as we can.

“We’ll see how the match develops. We are very well prepared, we have worked very well in the past seven days.

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“We have prepared ourselves for the English team and I’m sure the nuances will make the difference. So, yes, we are ready and looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”

England won the countries’ last meeting 2-1 at Wembley in November 2018 to win their Nations League group, having drawn 0-0 in Rijeka the previous month.

Southgate’s side have made further improvements since then but there remains weaknesses that Croatia are looking to expose.

“Well, you’d want me to tell you my entire approach, right?” the former Tottenham midfielder said with a laugh.

“I can’t go into details. I think we’ve prepared ourselves pretty well.

“The coach has worked a lot with us, told us what to do and we’re going to show tomorrow on the field what we’re going to do and what I’m going to do and what we are going to try to exploit.

“Of course we’re going to try and exploit whatever weaknesses there are – but tomorrow you’ll see what that will be.”

Modric looks set to come up against Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount under the arch.

The 22-year-old spoke about how he was overwhelmed to be asked for his shirt by the Croatia veteran when the sides met in the Champions League semi-finals, so will be similarly taken aback by praise from one of his idols.

“I think that Mason has shown during the season that he is a very talented player with lots of potential and that there’s a great future ahead of him,” Modric added.

“If he keeps working and investing himself in the way he is doing, he is going to be a great player in the future. He will be a very important part of the English national team.”

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