Who is Croatia’s first-choice penalty taker?

Luka Modric
(Image credit: Getty)

Luka Modric was one of the stars of the last World Cup, helping steer Croatia (opens in new tab) to the final with a series of composed performances.

Alongside Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic in the heart of the midfield, he exerted masterful control over the tempo of the game.

His quality shone through as Croatia topped their group with wins over Nigeria (opens in new tab), Iceland (opens in new tab) and Argentina (opens in new tab).

In the knockout stages, Denmark (opens in new tab) and Russia (opens in new tab) were both beaten on penalties before Mario Mandzukic’s dramatic extra-time winner against England (opens in new tab).

Throughout that impressive run, Modric made his team tick, always showing for the ball, finding the right pass and setting the standard.

He also chipped in with a couple of vital goals and showed great bravery from the penalty spot when called upon.

Despite seeing Kasper Schmeichel save his penalty late on in extra time, he still stepped up again in the shootout and found the net.

Modric did the same against Russia in the quarter-final, albeit with a helping of good fortune as Igor Akinfeev palmed his effort against the post but it spun back into the opposite side of the goal.

Although the midfielder is far from perfect at penalties, scoring eight of the 11 he has taken in game for Croatia, he has made no mistake with the last four.

He has already confirmed his plans to retire from international football after the Qatar World Cup to it will be his last major tournament.

Modric is hoping to go out on a high but will be hard pressed to replicate the success he enjoyed four years ago.

Although Croatia lost 4-2 to France (opens in new tab) in the final, he was rewarded with the Golden Ball for the best player ahead of Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann.

Boosted by yet more Champions League glory with Real Madrid (opens in new tab), he also became the first player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or since 2007.

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