Football

Netherlands vs Croatia Player Ratings: Modric masterclass gives Croatia another shot at glory

modric for croatia
Rotterdam, Niederlande, 14.06.2023: Luka Modric (Croatia) gestikuliert waehrend des Halbfinalspiels der UEFA Nations League A zwischen Niederlande vs Kroatien im Feijenoord Stadion - De Kuip am 14. June 2023 in Rotterdam, Niederlande. (Foto von Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images) Rotterdam, Netherlands, 14.06.2023: Luka Modric (Croatia) gestures during the UEFA Nations League A semi-final match between Netherlands vs Croatia at Feijenoord Stadium - De Kuip on June 14, 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images) - Photo by Icon sport

  • Croatia overcome the Netherlands in six goal-thriller thanks to goals from Kramaric, Pasalic, Petkovic and Modric.
  • The Netherlands managed to take the game to Extra Time thanks to a 96th-minute strike from Noa Lang.
  • Croatia will now face either Italy or Spain in the final of the Nations League.

Netherlands Player Ratings: Koeman’s men battle hard to no avail

Justin Bijlow 6/10 – While he did concede four goals on the night, there wasn’t much he could do about any of them.

Denzel Dumfries 5/10 – Start off well against Perisic and Ivanusec but after half time he struggled badly. Didn’t look comfortable on the ball going forward, either.

Lutsharel Geertruida 5/10 – Defended on the front foot throughout. It worked in the first half, but he was made to look rash at times in the second half and in extra time.

Virgil van Dijk 4/10 – Still defending far too lackadaisically and was beaten far too easily by Pasalic for Croatia’s second goal.

Nathan Ake 6/10 – Despite partying for the past couple of days, Ake was the pick of the bunch at the back for the Netherlands.

Frenkie de Jong 5/10 – Too safe in possession and far too weak out of it.

Mats Wieffer – 7/10 – Imposed himself on the game really well and got himself an assist for Malen’s opener.

Teun Koopmeiners 4/10 – Was shown up by Luka Modric.

Donyell Malen 7/10 – Great finish for his goal and looked like a bright spark in the Dutch attack on other occasions.

Xavi Simons 5/10 – Didn’t do enough creatively and was marked out of the game for most of the night. Was the first player to be hooked by Koeman.

Cody Gakpo 4/10 – Was never really in the game and gave away a ridiculous penalty in extra time when tugged at Luka Modric’s shirt needlessly. There are still question marks about his ceiling, especially in his favoured position up front.

Substitutes

Wout Weghorst 5/10 – Didn’t really do anything of note. Not good enough

Georginio Wijnaldum 6/10 – Was guilty of holding on to the ball for too long at times but worked hard.

Steven Bergwijn 6/10 – At least tried to get the Dutch moving in the right direction with intensity.

Noa Lang 7/10 – Scored the all-important equaliser to send the game to extra time.

Tyrell Malacia 4/10 – Came off the bench and conceded a penalty. Not a great 15 minutes for the Manchester United man.

Marten de Roon 6/10 – Came on too late to make an impact.

Croatia Player Ratings: Modric lights up Rotterdam

Dominik Livakovic 6/10 – Wasn’t at fault for either of the goals he conceded and commanded his box well throughout.

Josip Juranovic 7/10 – Dealt with Simons expertly and forced Koeman to sub the winger off earlier than anticipated.

Josip Sutalo 7/10 – Had a solid game at the back and made Gakpo look bang-average throughout. Wasn’t troubled by Weghorst, either.

Domagoj Vida 7/10 – The veteran, who was playing due to Gvardiol’s injury, was at his usual no-nonsense, aggressive best.

Ivan Perisic 6/10 – Would have been given a 3/10 if these ratings were done at half time but he got much better after the restart.

Marcelo Brozovic 6/10 – Didn’t do anything spectacular but worked tirelessly in midfield which allowed Modric the time and space he needed to dazzle.

Luka Modric 9/10 –  Has no right to still be this good at the age of 37. He controlled the game from start to finish and was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch. What a player for Jude Bellingham to learn from next season

Mateo Kovacic 7/10 – Like Brozovic, he worked tirelessly all night to give Modric the time and freedom to dictate play. Also showed more ambition with his passing.

Mario Pasalic 8/10 – Deserved his goal after a tenacious midfield display

Luka Ivanusec 7/10 – Wasn’t exactly the star of the show but played the ball of the night when he found Pasalic in the penalty area for Croatia’s second goal.

Andrej Kramaric 8/10 – The former Leicester man bullied Virgil van Dijk at times and was excellent with his back-to-goal. Took his penalty superbly, too.

Substitutes

Nikola Vlasic 6/10 – The West Ham midfielder came on and gave his team fresh legs in midfield.

Josip Stanisic 6/10 – Picked up where Juranovic left off.

Lovro Majer 6/10 – Got stuck in.

Martin Erlic 6/10 – Fitted like a glove in extra time.

Bruno Petkovic 8/10 – With the scores level in extra time he came on and completely shifted the game in Croatia’s favour. Scored an unbelievable goal from distance to nudge his team ahead before Modric sealed the win with a penalty.

Netherlands vs Croatia Match Summary and Highlights

This golden age of Croatian players have given themselves one more shot at glory as they beat the Netherlands away from home in the semi-finals of the Nations League. Victory for Zlatko Dalic’s men mean that they are into their second major final in five years following their historic run to the World Cup final in 2018.

On a hectic night in Rotterdam, four different goalscorers gave them safe passage through to the final with Dalic the mastermind behind the win thanks to his perfectly timed substitutions. While Luka Modric bossed the midfield from minute one, with help from Brozovic and Kovacic, Croatia needed a wonder strike from Petkovic to get them over the line after the Netherlands dramatically took the game to extra time in the dying minutes of stoppage time.

Modric and co will now await the winners of tomorrow’s other semi-final between Spain and Italy in the third Nations League final this weekend.

Player of the Match: Luka Modric

At the age of 37, Luka Modric should either be retired or in a Saudi mansion with his feet up waiting for his career to end. Instead, he is still starring for Real Madrid and refusing to retire from international football and after his performance tonight, it is easy to see why. If he plays to this level again in the final on Sunday then he may well achieve his dream of bringing international success to his beloved country.


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