Luka Modric insisted being dubbed the 'Golden Generation' has not hampered Croatia in their World Cup preparations, dismissing suggestions the tag has put them under pressure.
Along with Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Juventus' Mario Mandzukic and Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, Real Madrid midfielder Modric is among the most talented players to have played for Croatia, who are tipped to provide Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria with stiff competition in an open Group D.
Modric has scored 12 goals in 106 appearances for Croatia since making his 2006 debut and he told reporters the only pressure on Zlatko Dalic's side comes from within the squad itself.
"This is not a burden," he said of the 'Golden Generation' tag. "Let’s see what happens after the World Cup.
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"I hope the pressure that you mention will not be an obstacle. It is only right that there are expectations of us, but first and foremost we expect of ourselves more than anyone else."
At 32, Modric is entering the twilight of his career and he was asked whether the 2018 World Cup represents a final opportunity for himself, Mandzukic, Rakitic and Perisic to shine on the game's biggest stage.
"Whether this is the last chance or not is irrelevant," Croatia's captain replied, before looking forward to Saturday's opening match against Nigeria.
"Let's focus on what’s important and that is the first game, then the next game, and then the next game.
"Our first objective is to emerge from the group and I hope we will prove all those epithets right about this generation.”
Modric refused to be drawn into discussing Spain's pre-World Cup decision to sack head coach Julen Lopetegui, who he will play under at Real Madrid in 2018-19.
"I know he is our new coach at Real Madrid, but I am only thinking about my national team now," added Modric.
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