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What is it with these Croatian midfielders? As per usual, Luka Modric has been classy as ever in the World Cup so far and last night it was time for his club and international colleague Mateo Kovacic, a fellow midfield master who made his name at Dinamo Zagreb, to shine on the world stage.
The 24-year old had been used as a substitute in wins over Nigeria and Argentina, laying on the most unselfish of assists for Ivan Rakitic to seal a 3-0 win and secure qualification in the second game.
Last night, in the final Group D game against Iceland, Kovacic was drafted in to replace Rakitic, who was rested by Zlatko Dalić for the 2-0 victory.
It meant we got to see the dreamy all Real Madrid midfield pairing, as the master and the apprentice linked up in the middle of the park.
And the apprentice, playing in his second World Cup finals, did not disappoint with his display. According to Squawka and Football Talent Scout, the former Inter Milan man was so unbelievably efficient that he did not give the ball away once in Rostov.
79 passes attempted, 79 passes completed during an 80 minute outing. The absolute definition of a midfield masterclass.
Mateo Kovačić vs Iceland- FootballTalentScout (@FTalentScout) June 26, 2018
100% pass accuracy
2 key passes
2 dribbles won
4 tackles won
1 aerial won
Superb player. :flag_hr: pic.twitter.com/YCEKnVwvcR
Mateo Kovacic did not misplace a single pass during his 80 minutes on the pitch against Iceland:- Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 26, 2018
• 79 attempted
• 79 completed
These Croatian centre-midfielders. :100: pic.twitter.com/OfGAxld03n
While stats don't always tell the full story, the numbers are seriously impressive and provide further evidence that Kovacic is the heir to Modric's throne.
After expressing a desire to leave Real in the hope of regular football in a recent interview, Kovacic will surely not be short of offers and would be an excellent addition for pretty much any elite club in European football.
Who would Kovacic be an ideal fit for?
Sound off in the comments.
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