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Croatia coach announces offensive lineup against Austria at Euro 2008

Croatia coach announces offensive lineup against Austria at Euro 2008

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic will use an offensive lineup for his team's European Championship opener against Austria on Sunday.
"Even though football can be unpredictable and merciless, we will be better than the hosts," Bilic said Saturday.
Croatia sees itself as a favorite in the match against co-host Austria in Vienna. After convincingly qualifying for Euro 2008, Croatia is considered a contender for the title after beating England at Wembley stadium along the way.
Bilic announced his starting lineup for the Sunday match by saying "we have nothing to hide." He said Stipe Pletikosa will be in the goal, with Vedran Corluka, Robert Kovac, Josip Simunic and Danijel Pranjic in the defense. The defense is considered a weaker part of Croatia's squad.
The midfield, the strongest section in the team, will be led by two skillful playmakers, Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar, helped by Dario Srna _ the main provider of crosses for the offense _ and veteran captain Niko Kovac.
In the absence of injured Eduardo da Silva, the attack will be led by Mladen Petric, who scored nine goals in 21 appearances for Croatia, and Ivica Olic, who has nine goals in 51 international games.
The Brazilian-born Eduardo, the main Croatian scorer in qualifying with 10 goals in 12 games, missed the championship after his leg was severely broken and his ankle dislocated while playing for Arsenal in the Premier League in February.
Bilic said that the opening match against Austria is "crucial" for his team. Croatia will also play Germany and Poland in Group B.
"There are only three group matches," Bilic said. "It's not like in the Premier League where Manchester United can afford to lose some of the starting matches, and still clinch the title.
"The main source of out optimism is not the win against England in November, but that we have worked really well for this tournament," Bilic said.
Croatia captain Niko Kovac shared Bilic's optimism on Saturday.
"We have been waiting for this moment for two years, and thank God we are starting tomorrow," the 37-year-old Kovac said. "We are better than Austria and hope we'll show it tomorrow."


Updated : 2021-01-18 22:11 GMT+08:00