A 3-1 win against the Republic of Ireland represented a job well done for Croatia’s Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, Nikica Jelavic and Ivan Rakitic, who will take plenty of confidence into their remaining Group C games against Italy and Spain.
Luka Modric, Croatia midfielder
We had a really good match, we played at our very best and we were fighting until the end to win this. We were a really top team tonight – this was the Croatia we want to see. I would compare this victory with another big one – against Turkey in EURO play-offs. This is really a big win and it will be easier for us in the next matches. They could only hurt us from their free-kicks and they did, but it didn’t shake us too much. We knew we were better than the Irish. The atmosphere and fans were amazing.
Niko Kranjcar, Croatia midfielder
It was an excellent match. I think we dominated for the whole 90 minutes, and we deserved to win. The atmosphere was excellent. We gave our very best from the beginning until the end, because that’s what we had to do. And I think our class was evident. The coach’s tactics definitely worked. We believe in the whole squad, not just these 11 players, but everyone here, and also those who are injured, have class. And together with our coach, we are ready to make a great impression on this European Championship.
We have done what we came here to do, which was to win the first match against Ireland. We thought we were the favourites today. Now we have a couple of difficult matches to come against Italy and Spain, where we are not the favourites, but in previous championships we have shown that we can handle them, especially if we have Danijel [Pranjic] and we do like we did today, then I think we can win.
Nikica Jelavic, Croatia forward
We did everything our coach told us to do. We attacked, we put them under pressure, we created lots of chances. The result could have been even more emphatic, but we are very happy with the three points. Now we are top of the group and of course that gives us confidence. Now we will think about the match against Italy, which will be a very important game for us. We will try to get the three points against them, so that we can play our third game without pressure.
Ivan Rakitic, Croatia midfielder
It was really very important to start the match well and we did, we scored an early goal. Although they managed to bring it back to 1-1, we responded well. We were the better team and we played a phenomenal match. We deserved this victory.