SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Croatia playmaker Luka Modric is expected to be fit for the team’s next World Cup match against Cameroon despite picking up a foot injury, team officials said Friday.
Modric was taken to a hospital in Salvador, near the squad’s training base, to check the extent of the injury sustained during the 3-1 defeat by Brazil in Thursday’s tournament opener. An MRI scan has shown that he has no fractures or ligament injuries, team officials said.
Modric’s absence for the June 18 match against Cameroon, which lost 1-0 to Mexico in Group A on Friday, would be a major blow for Croatia. The skillful Real Madrid midfielder is the backbone of his national team’s midfield.
“God forbid that the injury is serious,” Croatia coach Niko Kovac said earlier.
Kovac said he won’t make any further comments about Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura, who on Thursday awarded Brazil a controversial penalty with the score at 1-1.
After the match, Kovac had been furious about the refereeing, calling it a “robbery” and “shame.”
But on Friday he said: “I hope that it will be the last time that we talk about referees. Now we focus on the match against Cameroon.
“What we have showed on the (pitch) was great,” Kovac said. “What I can see in players’ eyes is their desire to make up for what we have lost in the opener.”