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Cacic laments off-field troubles, Modric and Mandzukic avoid muscle tears

Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic have been cleared of muscle tears, while Croatia coach Ante Cacic has questioned the French authorities’ failure to act on warnings of hooliganism.

A planned disruption involving flares and a provocative banner caused a halt to the game and sparked trouble in the stands in Saint-Etienne on Friday, where Croatia conceded in injury time to draw 2-2 with Czech Republic.

UEFA has since levelled a series of charges at the Croatian Football Federation [HNS] over the actions of what is believed to be a minority of dissidents opposed to the national governing body.

Speaking after the match at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Cacic described those responsible as “sports terrorists”.

And the coach confirmed a day later that warning had been provided to local authorities over the potential for an incident to take place, questioning why further preventative action was not taken.

“I can’t find the word for them,” he said of the disruptive element among the fans.

“You will not stop us, you will not stop our dream. This team is the symbol of patriotism. I believe those who threw shame on our nation will soon be taken where they belong.

“This is also a message to the French organisers because we knew and told them hooligans planned to do this.”

HNS confirmed via Twitter on Saturday that Modric and Mandzukic had been cleared of muscle tears after undergoing scans, but it is not known if the key pair will be fit to play Spain in Bordeaux on Tuesday.

“[Domagoj] Vida, [Marcelo] Brozovic and [Vedran] Corluka got knocks, nothing serious,” Cacic said.

“Mandzukic and Modric … we’ll see.”

Having largely dominated the game until the late interruption, Cacic believes his side, who also impressed against Turkey and were considered by some as outsiders to win the European Championship, are beginning to learn what they are capable of.

“These players were never aware they are so strong,” he said.


Sat 18 Jun, 2016
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