Luka Modric doesn't want to aggravate Croatia's situation in their pursuit of a place at 2018 World Cup Russia, but the midfielder recognized that last night's 1-1 draw against Finland has increased the pressure on the team who must beat Ukraine in Kiev on Monday and hope Iceland lost at home to Kosovo to qualify directly.
Croatia left needing a win in Kiev and a favour from Kosovo
Modric analyzed Croatia's position - the team is second in Group I, two points behind Iceland and level on points with Ukraine but with a superior goal difference: "Everything was going well up until the Iceland game then suddenly, we've just started to struggle. That's the brutal reality right now. The situation is catastrophic but we still have a chance [of automatically qualifying for the finals]", the player told A Bola, and said the team should stick by under-fire coach Ante Čačić, who was sacked a few hours after the Finland game: "What can we do now? We started the qualifying stage with him and we have to continue with him. We have put our route to the World Cup at risk. It's incredible who a team like Croacia can have so many difficulties against teams like Kosovo and Finland".
Cacic sacked, Dalic appointed
Croatian Football Federation (HNS) president Davor Suker explained his decision to fire Čačić: "We were hoping for a positive result... it was a unanimous decision which the HNS committee took to dismiss the coach".
Former Al-Ain coach Zlatko Dalic will take the reins of the team for Monday's crunch match in Kiev.