Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is undoubtedly the star player of the Croatian senior national team but he was missing in all their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this month. Luka Modric missed all the three qualifiers due to the muscle injury picked up while in club action last month. The petite midfielder opted to join up with the team despite the injury and Croatia were able to pick up two wins and one draw from the three qualifiers without him on the pitch.
Luka Modric is the Croatian national team skipper and he was absent as Croatia began their World Cup qualifiers this month with a goalless draw against hosts Russia. Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic then scored a late goal to give Croatia a slim 1-0 win at the expense of hosts Slovakia. Modric also missed the game against Slovakia.
Croatia wrapped up their World Cup qualifiers for September 2021 with a convincing win over Slovenia at home. The reigning World Cup finalists were able to record an impressive 3-0 home win over the Slovenians without Luka Modric in their squad. Hadjuk Split striker Marko Livaja scored the first goal of the game for the Croatians on 33 minutes to take his goal tally to an impressive nine goals in just 21 games.
Atalanta midfielder Mario Pasalic was the recipient of the second Croatia goal at the expense of Slovenia. He doubled the advantage for Croatia around the midway point in the second half before new West Ham signing Niko Vlasic put the final nail in the coffin for the Slovenians with the third Croatia goal late in the game. Vlasic scored the final goal of the game in the fourth minute of added time.
The win over Slovenia was able to keep Croatia at the top of Group H of the World Cup qualifiers in the UEFA region on goal difference. Russia are their nearest challengers in the group. Both Croatia and Russia have 13 points from the first six qualifiers.