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Cacic hails Croatia's majestic "leader" Modric

Football Soccer - Turkey v Croatia - EURO 2016 - Group D - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - 12/6/16 Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after the game REUTERS/Christian Hartmann Livepic
Football Soccer - Turkey v Croatia - EURO 2016 - Group D - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - 12/6/16Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after the gameREUTERS/Christian HartmannLivepic

By Philip O'Connor

PARIS (Reuters) - Croatia coach Ante Cacic hailed the man-of-the-match performance of the majestic Luka Modric following his side's winning start against Turkey at Euro 2016 on Sunday.

Modric fired his side into the lead with a brilliant dipping volley from just outside the box four minutes before halftime and Croatia held on to win 1-0 at the Parc des Princes against a spirited but limited Turkey.

"Luka really deserves to be talked about, especially after this match. It was one of his best for Croatia," the 62-year-old Cacic enthused after the game.

"He really played well, he was our leader, he scored a magical goal, and it turned out to be the only goal. We need Luka in this form because our team looks better, more aggressive."

The game descended into a scrappy affair but Modric rose above the mediocrity with his clever passing and movement and his goal proved the icing on the cake.

"I struck it perfectly and I scored. I'm happy about the goal, but I'm even happier about the result and the three points," Modric told reporters.

"We played really aggressively. We played like the big national teams, and I think we are a big team now. This was the first match in this tournament and there are many more in front of us," he added.

His wonder strike prompted wild jubiliation both on the pitch and in the stands, with one fan making his way down onto the pitch to join in the celebrations with the Croatian players -- something the goal-scorer was oblivious to at the time.

Despite security being a concern following the trouble at the end of Saturday's game between Russia and England, Modric brushed off the incident.

"It could have been a supporter from Turkey, but thank God it was a Croatian supporter," the Real Madrid playmaker said.

"After scoring the goal I didn't even notice. It was only afterwards I realised, but it turned out not to be dangerous."

The 30-year-old sounded a note of caution, warning his team mates that the Czech Republic and Spain would provide a tougher test than Turkey.

"We have two very important games left and they're two very tough teams, so we don't want to fall into euphoria and think that we have passed the group stage," he said.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ian Chadband)

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