Luka Modrić Lambaste Referee, But Wishes Messi Well After Croatia's Defeat To Argentina In The 2022 World Cup.

 Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was devasted after his team were knocked out in the World Cup semi-finals by Argentina and criticised the refereeing of Italian Daniele Orsato.

It happened that Croatia had dominated the semi-final encounter in the opening half hour at the Lusail Stadium in Al Daayen, Qatar on Tuesday night, before the award of Argentina's penalty in the 34th minute, which Messi converted.

The penalty decision seemed harsh on keeper Dominik Livakovic who had fouled Julian Alvarez, but who, in truth, could not have done much to get out of the way of the onrushing forward.

Croatia, runners-up in Russia four years ago, paid the price for some untypically poor defending as the game ended 3-0 with Julian Álvarez scoring twice on the night.

In an angry post-match press conference, the Croatian captain Modric said referee Daniele Orsato was "a disaster" in the game, and also labelled him "one of the worst".

The 37-year-old,who might have made his last World Cup appearance for his country, said he felt he had to speak out after seeing Orsato award a debatable penalty to hand Argentina the chance to open the scoring, which Lionel Messi did. Modric said that goal "killed us".

"It wasn’t to be, but hey, we have to recover and try to win the match for third place. We're sad, we wanted to be in another final. We have to congratulate Argentina," 

The Madridista considered two actions by the referee "key", a corner that he did not award them and the penalty.

"We were fine, controlling the game and this corner that the referee didn't give us and the penalty, which for me wasn’t one, changed everything. The Argentine shoots and collides with our goalkeeper, he goes for him, I can't believe he gave that penalty.

“This changes the game a bit. But we can't change it, we have to recover and try to win the next game.”

For Modric, playing the game for third place "is not a punishment", because "it never is, to play for Croatia".

"We have had a great World Cup and now there is bronze at stake in the game and we have to prepare ourselves, because if we get it it is also a good success," he said.

Nevertheless, the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner Modric took time to salute long-time rival Messi following the game, with the pair the veterans of numerous Real Madrid-Barcelona Clasicos in their distinguished careers.

''Congratulations and I wish good luck in the final to Messi," Modric said.

"He is having an amazing tournament and he’s showing his greatness and quality.

 “Hopefully he wins this World Cup, he is the best player in history and he deserves it.”

Finally, Modric talked about a potential retirement. But he did not offer much insight, indicating that this is not the right time to talk about his career. “I don’t know, we’ll see. This is not the time to talk about this. We have a bronze medal to win now,” he said.

Croatia were hoping to make a back-to-back final appearance having reached the final at the 2018 World Cup edition, but lost it to France.

They are out in the last four for the second time after their 1998 loss to France in their maiden tournament, but will now face France or Morocco for the consolation prize of third place at Qatar 2022.

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