Without Luka Modric on the park on Friday night against Belgium the result may well have been a lot worse than the 1:2 final scoreline. The importance of the diminutive Real Madrid midfield in the current Croatia side has been glaringly obvious in this World Cup qualifying campaign, and under-pressure coach Igor Stimac may play it safe tomorrow night in Glasgow against Scotland ahead of important play-off matches and rest Modric, who is just one card away from suspension after being booked on Friday night.
“We have 12 players sitting on yellow cards who are under threat of not playing in the play-offs, we have to be calm,” said Stimac, whom 97% of fans in a recent poll by a leading daily newspaper want sacked.
Stimac may well be looking ahead to the play-offs and keep his star man under wraps to avoid an awkward situation of his side facing the likes of a France or Ukraine without Modric.
Vedran Corluka, Mario Mandzukic, Niko Kranjcar, Nikica Jelavic, Gordon Schildenfeld, Ivan Strinic, Eduardo da Silva and Ognjen Vukojevic are also all on yellow cards and will miss the first leg of the play-off if they are booked against Scotland. Josip Simunic is suspended and Sime Vrsaljko and Mateo Kovacic, also both on yellow cards, have dropped to the Under-21s. Ivan Rakitic, also on a caution, will not play at Hampden Park on Tuesday after picking up an injury on Friday night.