Luka Modric will miss Croatia’s final Euro 2016 qualifier against Malta due to the groin injury picked up against Bulgaria.
The Real Madrid midfielder was withdrawn at half-time of Saturday’s 3-0 victory in Zagreb which kept Croatia’s hopes of an automatic qualifying spot alive.
Head coach Ante Cacic said afterwards that Modric was taken off simply as a precaution, but the Croatian Football Association has now confirmed he will sit out Tuesday’s encounter.
“He has a strained adductor muscle, so we will not take him to the Malta game as it is only three days from now,” team doctor Boris Nemec said in a statement on Sunday.
Croatia head into the final round of qualifiers needing a win to keep their chances of a top-two finish alive, while they must hope that second-placed Norway fail to win against Italy.