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Croatia playmaker Modric likes challenges, so Euro 2008 match against Germany could suit him

Croatia playmaker Modric likes challenges, so Euro 2008 match against Germany could suit him

Croatia playmaker Luka Modric likes big challenges, so it's no wonder he's looking forward to Thursday's European Championship game against tournament favorite Germany.
"I love the big challenges and I play better when under pressure," the 22-year-old midfielder said. "The match against Germany is exactly what I like."
The rising star is optimistic about the Group B match despite his team's lackluster 1-0 opening win against Austria, considered the weakest squad at the 16-nation tournament.
"We have a lot of self-confidence, and despite the poor second half against Austria, I'm convinced that we can do well against Germany," Modric said.
Modric, who has agreed to a euro21 million (US$32 million) transfer to London club Tottenham after the tournament, struggled against Austria despite scoring the earliest ever penalty kick in history of the European Championship _ netting in the fourth minute.
"I agree that my performance fell short in the second half, like the rest of the team," Modric said. "We will certainly play better against Germany."
Modric missed a training session on Monday because a strained tendon, but the injury is not serious and he will play against Germany, Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said Tuesday.
"Modric is OK, he received a knock in the match against Austria, but he will be ready for Germany," Bilic said.
Despite the poor opening match on Sunday, Modric has Bilic's full support.
"He's a type of player who can play anywhere in the midfield, up front or more defensively," Bilic said, defending his decision to play Modric in a more defensive role. "He's our best player. Without him we would be half of what we are."
"I told him that I expect him to be the best player at the tournament," Bilic said. "Not to put more weight on his shoulders, but because I mean it. Modric is a calm player and very mature for his age. That's why he's our penalty taker."
But it isn't self confidence that Modric lacks.
"I had no fear when I took the penalty against Austria, I did it exactly the way I planned it," Modric said, refusing suggestions that the shot to the middle of the goal _ barely missing the feet of diving goalkeeper Juergen Macho _ was a fluke.
"You guys always have something to complain about," Modric told reporters. "When I play defensively, it's not good for you. When I play more offensively, it's not good either. I play where my coach wants me to, and that's my best position."
Asked if he feels like a rising football star, Modric responded with a shot of humor.
"No, I don't feel like a rising star," Modric said. "I feel like I'm already there."


Updated : 2020-12-05 13:15 GMT+08:00