first_imgWorld Cup Modric & Croatia backed to reach World Cup semi-finals by ’98 hero Asanovic Naim Beneddra 16:30 6/16/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Luka Modric Croatia European Qualifiers Getty Images World Cup Croatia The former midfielder has happy memories of France 20 years ago and hopes to see a repeat in Russia Former Croatia star Aljosa Asanovic has called for the current national team to surpass the achievements of their 1998 World Cup side.Asanovic was part of the Croatia team that finished third at the World Cup 20 years ago by beating Netherlands in the play-off following a semi-final defeat by hosts France.In Russia this summer, Croatia will face Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria in Group D in a tough first-round pool, but Asanovic believes that Luka Modric et al are capable of emulating the ’98 team by reaching at least the last four. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move “Twenty years later, I have only happy memories of the 1998 edition of the World Cup,” Asanovic told Goal . “Memories of this beautiful adventure with a group of friends.“It was really something fabulous. It was also something unique because, you know, Croatia is only a small country. And, doing what we did, it made us all so proud, so happy. Remembering this tournament is always a pleasure.“But today, too, we have a very good team. Perhaps the best we’ve had, with big stars playing at Real, Barca and Juventus. I hope and believe that this generation will do better than us.“It’s the current selection that deserves all the attention. Pressure and expectations are very important on this team. And that’s normal because there are a lot of great players. And everyone thinks they are good enough to go very far.“And, for me, they can go at least to the semi-finals. In football, anything is possible, and every game is a new challenge. But what is certain is that we have a very strong selection.”Croatia impressed during the group stage of Euro 2016, topping Group D and even beating holders Spain in their final game before losing to eventual winners Portugal in the last 16.In qualifying for this summer’s World Cup, Croatia finished second in their group behind Iceland before easily overcoming Greece in the play-offs and Asanovic feels they are capable of troubling the bigger nations.When asked who the favourites to win the World Cup are, he replied: “There are many. I can mention Germany, France, Spain, Brazil and Argentina. And maybe Croatia will get to the level of these teams.”last_img