Modric to miss crunch qualifier with Malta

The Real Madrid star had been withdrawn in Zagreb as a precautionary measure, but studies on the affected muscle confirmed that he would sit out the vital clash

Luka Modric will miss Croatia's final Euro 2016 qualifier against Malta due to the groin injury picked up against Bulgaria.

The Real Madrid midfielder was withdrawn at half-time of Saturday's 3-0 victory in Zagreb which kept Croatia's hopes of an automatic qualifying spot alive.

Head coach Ante Cacic said afterwards that Modric was taken off simply as a precaution, but the Croatian Football Association's medical staff have now confirmed he will sit out Tuesday's encounter.

"He has a strained adductor muscle, so we will not take him to the Malta game as it is only three days from now," team doctor Boris Nemec said in a statement on Sunday.

Croatia head into the final round of qualifiers needing a win to keep their chances of a top-two finish alive, while they must hope that second-placed Norway fail to win against Italy.