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Modric vs Eriksen rivalry goes from Tottenham to World Cup

NEWS
News
340   //    27 Jun 2018, 23:13 IST
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MOSCOW (AP) — It's a compelling chance to compare two of the best No. 10s at the World Cup.

A Croatia vs. Denmark clash in the round of 16 on Sunday is another showcase of Luka Modric vs. Christian Eriksen in their playmaker roles.

Their friendly rivalry has roots in London where both are beloved as the past and present of Tottenham's midfield — Modric for four years until 2012, then Eriksen for five years since 2013.

"Playing against Luka Modric is always special because he's an exceptional player and also still I would say a living legend from Spurs," Eriksen said, using the team's name favored by Tottenham Hotspur supporters. "So, of course, I hear a lot about him."

It was special for Eriksen when they last played against each other, in the Champions League.

In November, Denmark's star scored the third goal at Wembley in Tottenham's 3-1 win over Real Madrid in a group-stage game. Two weeks earlier, Eriksen and Modric both played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw in Madrid.

However, it was Modric who went the full distance in the Champions League, coming to the World Cup after winning the fourth European title in his six-year spell in Spain.

Often overshadowed in Madrid by Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos, Modric gets more credit for creating Croatia's play in an elegant midfield partnership with Ivan Rakitic.

"Croatia plays as a team, and they have a very strong midfield in particular," Eriksen said. "It will be a tough game. It's a very, very strong team and a strong country."

Modric is feeling so strong in Russia he did not rest for Croatia's last group game despite being all-but certain to finish top. He had scored a penalty in a 2-0 win against Nigeria and a long-range stunner in the 3-0 humiliation of Argentina.

"He wanted to play because he wanted to keep his match sharpness, and when Modric plays he makes other people better," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said. "Other people have more trust in themselves when Modric is on the pitch."

Dalic let Modric play 65 minutes in the 2-1 win over Iceland.

Eriksen has played the full 90 minutes of each game — scoring in a 1-1 draw with Australia — though the drab 0-0 draw with France did not require maximum effort.

"Probably from the fans, it was a bit disappointing, of course," Eriksen said. "But I'll make sure if they come to the next game it will be much more exciting."

NEWS
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