MOSCOW. — Croatia captain Luka Modric said being awarded the Golden Ball for the Soccer World Cup’s best player was “bittersweet” after losing the final 4-2 to France on Sunday.
“Obviously I liked the recognition and thanks to those who chose me, but clearly I would have preferred to have won the World Cp,” said the Real Madrid midfielder.
“It wasn’t to be and now we will rest and in the coming days celebrate this because it is still a huge thing for Croatia, but right now the feeling is bittersweet.
“We are proud of what we have done, but a bit sad at losing the final.”
Despite being forced into extra-time in all three of their knock-out rounds before the final, Croatia dominated the opening period and were desperately unlucky to trail 2-1 at half-time through Mario Mandzukic’s own goal and a controversial Antoine Griezmann penalty.
The smallest country to make a World Cup final in 68 years, with a population of just over four million, finally wilted after the break as Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe added to France’s lead before Mandzukic pulled a goal back.
“Although I think we deserved more, we can’t change anything,” added Modric. “We can only be proud of what we did — we never gave up and fought until the end.” — AFP.