Modric: Croatia must stop Bale

The Real Madrid midfielder says that they have to thwart the winger if they want to win and capitalise on their impressive victory over Serbia at the weekend

Luka Modric says Croatia must stop Gareth Bale if they want to capitalise on their impressive victory over Serbia, but admits his team-mates should not take Wales for granted.

The Real Madrid star played alongside Bale during his time at Tottenham and is wary of the threat that his former teammate poses to Croatia.

“Can we stop Gareth? We must, because these are three very important points,” Modric told the Daily Mirror. “The win against Serbia would ultimately mean a lot less if we do not beat Wales.

“One player can’t win games by himself and we know that we will be up against a good team who will be roared on by a passionate home crowd.”

Wales are looking to reduce the gap between them and second-placed Croatia to four points with a win at the Liberty Stadium and are buoyant following their 2-1 victory over Scotland on Friday.

Chris Coleman’s side lost Bale midway through the game but rallied to win and despite his obvious importance to the team, Coleman believes they can win without the winger.

“I can understand why people look at the fact Gareth went off and say it could be the end of our hopes, but we don’t feel that within the group,” Coleman added.

“When we beat Scotland 2-1 in Cardiff it was different circumstances because we won late on. But the performance in Glasgow was much more mature and rounded – and half of it was without ‘Baley’.

“We mustn’t forget how good he is and, with him, of course the team is stronger. But the players have to take great confidence from that.

“Sometimes we won’t have him so we need others to step up to the plate and that’s what happened in Scotland. Everyone stepped up and it was a tremendous performance. Hopefully they can step up again.

“But we won’t get carried away as Croatia is a huge game and another big test for us.”

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03 2013
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