'Next Modric' Tottenham target scores great solo goal, but captains his nation to shock exit

Uzbekistan have knocked Alen Halilovic and the rest of his Croatian team-mates out of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

This summer Tottenham had reportedly agreed a deal to bring in two of Croatia’s hottest talents in the form of Tin Jedvaj and Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb for a combined fee of £17.2 million.

In the end that story proved to be premature, or more to the point, false. Jedvaj for instance has now signed for AS Roma while his team-mate is still at Dinamo.

It was the Dinamo Zagreb president who claimed Halilovic was on his way to Spurs at the start of July - but so far nothing has come of it.

Halilovic has not only been linked with Tottenham. The man dubbed ‘the next Luka Modric’ has been linked with joining him at Real Madrid. Meanwhile Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have also seen themselves have their names linked with an interest.

But it was reported this week that Bayern Munich had tied him down to a deal … but Spurs fans will take that with a pinch of salt considering they ‘signed’ him a few months ago.

Halilovic has come through some rough stuff since then, a spell of poor form even saw him jeered by his own fans. But he came through it strong, and went to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup as the captain of his nation, ready to do Croatia proud and hopefully push into the latter rounds.

Accept, well, they are out.

Croatia have been knocked out of a group containing Panama, Morocco and Uzbekistan after the latter beat them 2-1 in the UAE on Thursday.

Halilovic thought he had given Hrvatska a life-line with a stunning solo equaliser, which cancelled out a calamitous own goal by FC Pasching defender Duje Caleta-Car.

But an excellent curling effort from Pakhtakor starlet Jamshid Boltaboev left Croatia and Halilovic licking their wounds, and boarding the next plane to their respective homes.

But Halilovic will still be buoyed by the fact he finally impressed on a personal level - with Bayern and Spurs undoubtedly watching.

Here are the highlights ...

image: © jasonparis

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