'He's a disaster' – Luka Modric FUMING with referee after Croatia's World Cup 2022 exit

Luka Modric of Croatia applauds fans after the 0-3 loss during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 semi-final match between Argentina and Croatia at Lusail Stadium on December 13, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.
(Image credit: FIFA via Getty Images)

Croatia (opens in new tab) captain Luka Modric has launched a scathing attack on referee Daniele Orsato, after taking issue with the Italian's performance in Tuesday's World Cup 2022 (opens in new tab) semi-final defeat to Argentina (opens in new tab).

The 2018 runners-up were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Lionel Messi and co – and it was the decision which led to Argentina's first goal, a Messi penalty, that seemed to particularly rile Modric.

Orsato pointed the spot after adjudging Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic to have brought down Julian Alvarez – but Modric and co. seemed to think Alvarez had run into Livakovic.

That was the view of ITV pundits Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Ian Wright during half-time analysis (opens in new tab) (although co-commentators Lee Dixon and Ally McCoist sided with the Italian referee, believing he'd made the correct decision).

And Modric was similarly perplexed to Keane, Neville and Wright. The legendary midfielder – who, now aged 37, will surely bid the World Cup farewell in Saturday's third place play-off – said (opens in new tab):

"Argentina was a fair winner of the game; they were better; they deserved to win – but these things have to be mentioned. I generally don't do them, but they have to be done.

"I don't like to talk about referees ... but this is one of the worst. I don't have a good memory of him; he's a disaster. For me, it wasn't a penalty.

"Despite this, I don't want to detract from Argentina. The penalty killed us. We have to recover for [the third place play-off] and win that game."

The third place play-off – in which Croatia will take on the loser of tonight's semi-final between France (opens in new tab) and Morocco (opens in new tab) – looks set to be Modric's 19th and final World Cup appearance.

As Croatia finished as runners-up to France four years ago, the Real Madrid man won the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament; he scored both of his World Cup goals at those finals.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...