Croatia captain Luka Modric says determination and self-belief were always more important than physical stature in football and that will be as true in Sunday’s World Cup final as in any other match.
At 1.72 meters (5ft 8in) and 66kg (146 lbs), the Croatia playmaker can cut a diminutive figure on the pitch but he has few rivals when it comes to skill, game-management and stamina.
On Sunday, the winner of four Champions League titles with Real Madrid will play the biggest match of his life against France and size will be the last thing on his mind.
“I’ve always ignored such talk,” he told reporters on the eve of his nation’s first World Cup final.
“I have never doubted myself even if others did, I always believed I could get to where I am today and thank God this came true.
“You don’t have to be a giant to play football, I’m happy with where I am. I am happy with where I am and I never cared what anyone else said, it only further motivated me.”
France will be clear favorites to win a second World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium and Croatia will be relying on the resilience that got them through three lots of extra time and two penalty shootouts in their knockout matches.