Croatia boss Ante Cacic has confirmed that Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric was withdrawn as an injury precaution in Croatia’s victory over Bulgaria.
Modric assisted Ivan Perisic for the opening goal to set his side on the path to a 3-0 victory in their penultimate Euro 2016 qualifier, helping to secure the three points required to keep their hopes of automatic qualification alive.
However, Modric was replaced by Milan Badelj at the interval, and the Croatia boss confirmed that the decision was taken due to discomfort felt by the midfielder.
“Luka Modric felt pain in his adductor, so we didn’t want to risk anything. That is why I substituted him at half time,” Cacic told reporters.
Croatia – who have already lost Mario Mandzukic from their squad through injury – currently occupy third position in Group H, two points behind second-placed Norway.
Cacic’s men will need to beat Malta in their final fixture and hope Norway fail to beat Italy in order to book an automatic place in France.