Marvellous Modric a class act
Ben Collins is confident Luka Modric will set the Premier League alight.
Last Updated: 20/06/08 11:32pm
Paying over £16million for a lightweight 22-year-old may have seemed a gamble but with every passing game Tottenham's decision to splash out on Luka Modric looks even more inspired.
Although the diminutive Croatia midfielder is heading home from Euro 2008 after a heart-breaking quarter-final defeat by Turkey, his impact in Austria and Switzerland will not be forgotten.
Spurs fought off competition from Newcastle to lure Modric from Dinamo Zagreb and his performances this summer suggest he could set the Premier League alight next season.
Modric took just four minutes to make his mark in the competition, coolly slotting home a penalty against Austria.
And although he dragged his effort wide in the shoot-out against Turkey, he demonstrated yet again that he is the man that makes Slaven Bilic's impressive Croatian side tick.
Modric had an early shot blocked after latching onto a loose Turkey pass and then sparked the move from which Ivica Olic struck the crossbar in the 19th minute.
He exchanged passes in midfield before popping up in the right channel and his superb low centre found Olic at the far post, only for the Croatia striker to hit the woodwork from six yards.
Modric continued to probe the Turkey defence as Croatia failed to break down their stubborn rearguard action during normal time, and Olic was denied late on from another Modric centre.
Yet despite his efforts during the first 90 minutes, Modric remained Croatia's heartbeat in extra-time and surged forward in the 119th minute to lay on what looked like the winner.
Modric first released Mladen Petric down the right, and although his cross was blocked, Modric beat goalkeeper Rustu Recber to the loose ball to cross for Ivan Klasnic to head home.
Semih Senturk's sensational last-gasp equaliser took the game to penalties, and Turkey looked destined to prevail once Modric missed the first spot-kick.
But Modric should not be considered the fall guy for Croatia as two of his team-mates also missed to send Turkey through 3-1 on penalties.
Tuncay Sanli was the star man for Fatih Terim's battlers, who again saved their skin with some last-gasp heroics.
The Middlesbrough striker has been deployed in a more withdrawn role for his national team and shown that he has the determination to defend as well as a keen eye for goal.
He tracked back during the first half to make a crucial tackle on Darijo Srna, and despite picking up a booking that will rule him out of the semi-final against Germany, he continued to lead by example.
Having been on the back foot for most of the 90 minutes, Tuncay then led the Turkish charge in extra-time, testing Stipe Pletikosa at his near post after a piercing run, before firing narrowly wide from just outside the box.
Reported Hull target Colin Kazim-Richards had less joy up front for Turkey, as he was starved of service before being replaced after an hour.
Niko Kranjcar followed shortly after for Croatia following another good performance. The Portsmouth midfielder was unable to direct the ball goalwards after Olic hit the bar and Rustu was out quick to smother Kranjcar's stabbed effort early in the second half.
Manchester City right-back Vedran Corluka was up against Newcastle target Arda Turan in a close-fought duel, although Turkey seldom asked questions of the Croatia defence until extra-time while Corluka had few opportunities to set off on one of his marauding runs down the right.