Croatia heaped further misery on Argentina’s already shaky World Cup opening last night, dismantling them 3-0, and taking the top spot of Group D in the process. And Tottenham fans will have been particularly interested in the clash.
Not only was former fan-favourite Luka Modric in his usual scintillating form, but a trio of closely linked players were deployed on the night, and all three put in exceptional performances.
Ivan Perisic put in a typically tireless display last night, alternating between all three-front roles at times, while showing maturity in his decision making and genuine quality in his end product after marauding runs down both flanks.
Pochettino will have taken notice, as his side were reportedly interested in bringing the 29-year-old to north London last month, according to FC Inter News.
On top of that, the Spurs-linked midfield duo also performed brilliantly when called upon. Marcelo Brozovic (TuttoMercatoWeb) – also of Inter Milan – showed his ability to steady the ship in defensive midfield, in what was a frantic game at times, sparking counter attacks with his vision and cultured weight of pass, whilst keeping the shackles on Lionel Messi.
And Mateo Kovacic (AS), rounded off a dogged team performance with a few moments brilliance. Upon arriving into the game in the closing stages, he used his exceptional dribbling and balance to trouble a weary Argentina back-line, before showing an extremely cool head to pick out Rakitic under-pressure in the box for his outfit’s third goal.
All three put in performances worthy of top level clubs, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pochettino elevate his interest in all three after last night.
Six of the best: England 1-2 Croatia, including Everton and Liverpool stars
England suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.
England’s dream World Cup run ended last night when Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions heroically crashed out in extra time after a Mario Mandzukic goal put Croatia into the promised land of the World Cup final.
Last night’s game was breaming with talent, and some of the stars on show were indeed a joy to watch, let’s have a look at who would make it into a six aside side from last night’s semi-final.
Goalkeeper – Jordan Pickford (England)
Jordan Pickford came of age during this summer’s World Cup and again demonstrated last night why Gareth Southgate was right to pick him as England’s number one; expect to see Pickford between the sticks for the Three Lions for many years to come.
Defender – Dejan Lovren (Croatia)
Dejan Lovren has been subject to quite a lot of stick over the last few seasons. However, the Liverpool defender has now reached a Champions League and World Cup final in one season, an impressive feat. Despite a shaky start to last nights game, Lovren overcame any nerves he did have and looked calm and comfortable when it mattered most for Croatia.
Defender – Kieran Trippier (England)
England’s goalscorer on the night channeled his inner David Beckham to score a sublime free-kick early on for Southgate’s side. However, his heroics proved to fall just short of sending England through to play France in the final on Sunday. Nevertheless, the Tottenham full-back summed up everything that was good about the Three Lions last night and his name will undoubtedly be known on the world stage now.
Midfield – Luka Modric (Croatia)
Modric again proved last night why he is one of the best midfielders in world football, the Real Madrid star put everything on the line and put together beautifully crafted passes when Croatia needed it most. An unbelievable talent whose name in no doubt deserves to be on this team.
Midfield – Ivan Perisic (Croatia)
The Internazionale midfielder grabbed a vital goal to equalise for Croatia last night and was a menace to England’s defence throughout the game. Don’t be surprised if some of the Premier League big boys come calling for his signature after last nights performance.
Forward – Mario Mandzukic (Croatia)
Mandzukic did what all great forwards do last night and scored the winner for his side in extra time when both teams looked destined for penalties. The Croatian forward worked his socks off all night and was arguably the most dangerous player on the pitch throughout the tie and for putting his country in their first ever World Cup final he gets the last position in this side.
Ivan Perisic is the finished article Tottenham need
The 29-year-old would massively improve Tottenham next term.
Ivan Perisic has confirmed his status as a top quality forward during the World Cup, putting in excellent displays against Argentina and Iceland, and Tottenham should now revive their reported interest (FC Inter News), in their quest for attacking reinforcements.
Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with a number of quality wingers this summer, but so far nothing has gathered any real traction, and Perisic could represent Tottenham’s best option; in not just a practical sense, but tactically as well.
The 29-year-old has become renowned for his mature wing-play in recent years, with his marauding runs often ending with quality end product both in terms of his byline crosses and clinical low finishes, while his work-rate out of possession is unmatched by the majority of attacking players.
Perisic’s return of 11 goals and 11 assists in 39 appearances does not tell the full story of the Croatian international’s immense contribution, and the player seems a perfect fit for the Premier League. Not only that, but he is undoubtedly hitting his prime and Tottenham would likely see the very best of the winger.
The next attacking addition is being brought in to partner 41-goal striker Harry Kane, with the left wing being a priority area for Pochettino, and Perisic’s tendency to go on his left foot would massively diversify Tottenham’s attack.
Everton’s reported move for Croatia defender Domagoj Vida would seriously improve defence
The Croatia international would bolster Marco Silva’s options significantly.
The world’s eyes were on Croatia last night, as Zlatko Dalic’s side dismantled Argentina 3-0. And a number of high-profile targets for Premier League clubs were in action. However, it appears Everton have identified a potential target that isn’t one of the household names, in Domagoj Vida, according to reports from Turkish outlet SABAH.
The defender currently plies his trade for Turkish giants Besiktas, having joined from Dynamo Kiev on a free transfer in January. But the 30-year-old has struggled to nail down a regular starting place at Vodafone Park. And Marco Silva could now swoop for his services, as he looks to bolster his defensive options ahead of his first season in-charge at Goodison Park.
The defender’s performance last night suggests he could be a serious coup for Silva if a deal can be completed. Vida partnered Liverpool regular Dejan Lovren at centre-back and managed to keep a star-studded Argentina attack; including the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala quiet for the duration of the game.
His aggression and determination was evident for all to see, as a string of last-ditch blocks and slide tackles rounded off a brilliant display for Croatia, as they secured a clean-sheet. And the dogged attitude the player showed last night, is what was largely missing from Everton’s rear-guard last term.