EURO 2012/ CROATIA, Bilić: "Italy? Our chances in the game are 50-50"
© foto di Daniele Buffa/Image Sport
Croatia started UEFA EURO 2012 in fine style, and coach Slaven Bilić told UEFA.com he expected his team to continue in the same vein ahead of their game with Italy in Poznan.
How recent criticism has spurred Croatia on
That is one of the reasons we are strong. It didn't seem to matter that we were ranked in the top ten teams in the world for the last five years, and that we'd won 42 games from 60. We went through a difficult period and if you come through, it just makes you stronger – and we did come through. That is what I keep telling my players: we should enjoy the EURO as we've had a lot of pressure to put up with.
On forward pair Mario Mandžukić and Nikica Jelavić
I have to say I am impressed by them. It's fascinating how they play together. They combined well and got through a lot of running. They are also good off the pitch too – great friends. It's not easy to mark them because they are strong in the air and on the ground. But, we have other great forwards too: Eduardo and Kalinić. I am really satisfied, but as much as I have been impressed, this is what I expect of them. The important thing to tell them is that they're not under pressure to score goals, then the goals often come ...
On being underdogs against Italy
Over the last two years we are really used to being the favourites, but we are adaptable. Italy are the favourites on paper, while Spain are the favourites to be the top team in the group, but it's only on paper. We are aware it will be a more difficult game than against Ireland, but who the favourites are is irrelevant.
This is the European Championship. OK, maybe Italy are favourites, but it was such a minor factor for us in our preparations and we won't use it as an excuse. We came here with the goal to reach the next stage and for that it's necessary for us to have a good result against Italy.
The tactical challenge Italy pose
I really respect Italy and Mr Prandelli who has changed the team round in the last two years. He changed the style and philosophy, and they play more like Spain now. I take my hat off to them. I wouldn't say they are better than Spain, but their play is very diverse and they are difficult to analyse. But, like any other team, they have their own problems and blind spots and we will try to take advantage.
On going out to win
I think we have some top players, but players who are better when they have the ball than when they don't. We set our aims very high in every match and the Croatian public have high demands from us, expecting victory in every match we play. We will try to control the game, of course defending as a team is a priority, but we love having the ball. I think our chances in the game are 50-50.
Other news Other News
- 26 Jan 07:57 ITALY/ ROMA, Strootman injured
- 25 Jan 08:27 ITALY/ LAZIO, Djordjevic injured
- 24 Jan 07:57 ITALY/ LAZIO, Felipe Anderson still injured
- 23 Jan 07:57 ENGLAND/ MAN. CITY, Lampard injury
- 22 Jan 07:17 ITALY/ OFFICIAL, Kodra is Parma new president
- 21 Jan 07:17 ITALY/ UDINESE, Domizzi injured
- 20 Jan 07:17 GERMANY/ BORUSSIA, Two players injured
- 19 Jan 07:57 GERMANY/ MAINZ, Koo Ja-cheol injured
- 17 Jan 07:57 GERMANY/ HAMBURG, Holtby injured
- 16 Jan 07:17 ITALY/ LAZIO, Felipe Anderson out for three weeks
- 15 Jan 07:57 ITALY/ MILAN, Zapata injured
- 14 Jan 07:17 ITALY/ SAMPDORIA, De Vitis underwent surgery
- 13 Jan 07:17 GERMANY/ BAYERN, Alaba is back
- 12 Jan 07:57 GERMANY/ SCHALKE, Fahrmann injured
- 11 Jan 08:27 GERMANY/ WOLFSBURG, Junior Malanda dead
- 10 Jan 07:57 ITALY/ FIORENTINA, Sogliano the next Sporting Director?
- 09 Jan 07:17 ENGLAND/ ASTON VILLA, Vlaar injured
- 08 Jan 07:17 ITALY/ CESENA, Tabanelli undergoes surgery
- 07 Jan 07:57 GERMANY/ OFFICIAL, Dutt is Stuttgart new Sporting Director
- 05 Jan 07:57 SPAIN/ SEVILLA, Cristoforo underwent surgery
- 03 Jan 07:57 ITALY/ AC MILAN, Mexes out for one month
- 02 Jan 07:57 ITALY/ AS ROMA, Destro injured
- 31 Dec 07:17 ENGLAND/ EVERTON, Hovard injured
- 30 Dec 07:57 ITALY/ CAGLIARI, Nani the new Sporting Director?
- 29 Dec 07:57 HOLLAND/ NAC, Matic will play for Macedonia
- 28 Dec 08:27 MAN. UTD, Di Maria injured again
- 25 Dec 07:57 ITALY/ PARMA, Jorquera underwent surgery
- 24 Dec 08:30 GREECE/ OFFICIAL, Sarris is no longer the Federation's president
- 23 Dec 07:17 SPAIN/ GETAFE, Lafita injured
- 22 Dec 07:57 SPAIN/ REAL MADRID, Marcelo injured
- 19 Dec 07:57 PERU/ OFFICIAL, Bengoechea is no longer the NT coach
- 16 Dec 07:17 BOSNIA/ OFFICIAL, Bazdarevic is the new NT coach
- 15 Dec 18:00 EUROPA LEAGUE, 16th finals draws
- 15 Dec 17:30 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, 8th finals draws
- 15 Dec 07:57 GERMANY/ BORUSSIA, Mkhitaryan injured
- 12 Dec 07:17 ITALY/ OFFICIAL, New owners for Parma
- 11 Dec 07:57 ENGLAND/ MAN. UTD, Smalling injured
- 10 Dec 16:24 SWITZERLAND/ FC BASEL, Streller: "First I am very proud of the team"
- 10 Dec 13:30 SWITZERLAND/ FC BASEL, Sousa: "It's about creating more history for this great club"
- 10 Dec 07:57 ITALY/ FIORENTINA, Babacar injured
- 09 Dec 15:00 RUSSIA/ CSKA MOSCOW, Rasmus Elm risking to quit football due to stomach sickness
- 09 Dec 07:57 PORTUGAL/ SPORTING, Nani injured
- 08 Dec 07:57 GERMANY/ STUTTGART, Rudiger injured
- 07 Dec 08:30 ITALY/ NAPOLI, Koulibaly injured
- 06 Dec 07:57 ITALY/ ATALANTA, Surgery for Raimondi
- 05 Dec 07:57 ITALY/ JUVENTUS, Romulo has undergone surgery
- 04 Dec 07:17 BRAZIL/ OFFICIAL, Miranda is Vasco new president
- 03 Dec 07:57 ENGLAND/ MAN. UTD, Di Maria out for two weeks
- 02 Dec 07:57 ITALY/ ATALANTA, Raimondi injured
- 01 Dec 07:57 FRANCE/ MONACO, Kondogbia out for two months
- 30 Nov 08:27 SPAIN/ REAL SOCIEDAD, Agirretxe injured
- 29 Nov 07:57 ITALY/ JUVENTUS, Surgery for Asamoah
- 28 Nov 07:57 ITALY/ NAPOLI, Michu underwent surgery
- 27 Nov 07:17 SPAIN/ BARCELONA, Vermaelen out for five months?
- 26 Nov 07:57 SERBIA/ OFFICIAL, Ćurčić is the new NT coach
- 24 Nov 07:57 GERMANY/ BORUSSIA, Reus injured again
- 23 Nov 08:27 ITALY/ ROMA, Torosidis injured
- 22 Nov 07:57 FRANCE/ GUINGAMP, Toivonen recovers
- 21 Nov 07:17 BULGARIA/ OFFICIAL, Penev is no longer the NT coach
- 20 Nov 07:57 SPAIN/ ATLETICO, Miranda out for three weeks
- 19 Nov 07:57 GERMANY/ BAYERN, Lahm out for three months
- 18 Nov 07:17 BOSNIA/ OFFICIAL, Susic is no longer the NT coach
- 17 Nov 07:57 GREECE/ OFFICIAL, Ranieri is no longer the NT coach
- 16 Nov 08:27 GEORGIA/ OFFICIAL, Ketsbaia is no longer the NT coach
- 15 Nov 07:57 SPAIN/ BARCELONA, Rafinha injured
- 14 Nov 07:17 ITALY/ JUVENTUS, Ogbonna injured
- 12 Nov 07:17 DENMARK/ BRONDBY, Agger injured
- 11 Nov 14:14 DENMARK, Jorgensen quits football: "Proud of my career"
- 11 Nov 07:17 GERMANY/ BORUSSIA D., Reus injured
- 10 Nov 19:00 ITALY, Conte: "Balotelli not different "
- 10 Nov 07:17 ITALY/ NAPOLI, Insigne injured
- 08 Nov 07:57 GERMANY/ BAYERN, Alaba underwent surgery
- 06 Nov 16:14 ENGLAND, Hodgson explains Saido Berahino England squad call up
- 06 Nov 07:17 ENGLAND/ EVERTON, Alcaraz injured
- 05 Nov 07:17 ITALY/ FIORENTINA, Bernardeschi out for 5 months
- 04 Nov 10:30 PREVIEW: Arsenal v Anderlecht: Possible lineups
- 04 Nov 07:57 GERMANY/ SCHALKE, Draxler injured
- 03 Nov 07:17 GERMANY/ BORUSSIA D., Hummels injured
- 01 Nov 07:57 SPAIN/ SEVILLA, Iborra injured
- 31 Oct 08:30 SPAIN/ VALENCIA, Parejo injured
- 30 Oct 07:57 ITALY/ NAPOLI, Zuniga may need surgery
- 28 Oct 12:09 Men’s shortlists for FIFA Ballon d’Or 2014 revealed
- 28 Oct 08:30 ITALY/ FIORENTINA, Fernandez injured
- 27 Oct 10:57 Orlando Pirates announce South African NT goalie Senzo Meyiwa's decease in gunfire
- 24 Oct 20:00 ENGLAND, Ferdinand: "I'm not fearful of retirement"
- 24 Oct 07:57 ITALY/ INTER, M'Vila injured
- 23 Oct 07:17 FRANCE/ PSG, Ibra may need surgery
- 22 Oct 07:57 ITALY/ OFFICIAL, Rogg is Fiorentina new General Manager
- 21 Oct 07:57 GERMANY/ BAYERN, Starke injured
- 20 Oct 07:17 ITALY/ SAMPDORIA, Viviano injured
- 19 Oct 08:30 ENGLAND/ ARSENAL, Wilshere injured
- 17 Oct 07:17 BRAZIL/ SAO PAULO, Pato injured
- 16 Oct 22:20 ROMANIA/ OFFICIAL, Piturca is no longer the NT coach
- 16 Oct 07:17 ITALY/ INTER, D'Ambrosio injured
- 15 Oct 07:17 SPAIN/ ATHLETIC, Muniain injured
- 14 Oct 12:00 EXCLUSIVE TMW - Louis Saha: "I'm a fan of Marchetti"
- 14 Oct 11:57 BARCELONA, Iniesta has won the Golden Foot 2014
- 14 Oct 07:17 SPAIN/ VALENCIA, Negredo recovering
- 13 Oct 07:57 ITALY/ INTER, New medical tests for Osvaldo
- 11 Oct 07:57 ITALY/ ATALANTA, Season over for Estigarribia
- 26 Jan 13:18 ENGLAND/ ARSENAL, Back for N'Koulou
- 26 Jan 13:09 EXCLUSIVE TMW - Getafe target Duncan
- 26 Jan 13:00 ENGLAND/ QPR, From UK: agreement for signing Osvaldo
- 26 Jan 12:48 ITALY/ AS ROMA, Duel to Tottenham and Dortmund for Mirallas
- 26 Jan 12:32 MLS - USA/ OFFICIAL, Chicago Fire sign Maloney
- 26 Jan 12:17 POLAND/ OFFICIAL, Legia Warszaw sign Taiwo
- 26 Jan 12:00 GERMANY/ WOLFSBURG, Allofs denies offer to Chelsea for Schurrle
- 26 Jan 11:38 ITALY/ OFFICIAL, Fiorentina, Gilardino arrives on loan
- 26 Jan 11:00 ENGLAND/ MAN UTD, Agreement for Dragovic
- 26 Jan 10:27 ITALY/ SAMPDORIA, Approaching Murru
- 26 Jan 09:59 ITALY/ CAGLIARI, Closing on Pavoletti
- 26 Jan 09:29 ITALY/ LAZIO: Djordjevic injured, back for Bergessio
- 26 Jan 09:00 ARGENTINA/ OFFICIAL, Colon sign Ledesma
- 26 Jan 08:30 TURKEY/ BESIKTAS, Medicals for Arslan
- 26 Jan 07:57 ITALY/ ROMA, Strootman injured
- 26 Jan 07:27 PSG, Pastore: "I'm in great terms with this club"
- 26 Jan 06:59 BAYERN, Ribery: "Here forever"
- 26 Jan 06:29 WEST HAM, Allardyce: "I have talked with Fletcher's agent"
- 26 Jan 06:00 REAL MADRID, Butragueno: "Illarramendi is a Real player"
- 26 Jan 00:00 AC MILAN, Rami: "I would like to end my career here"
- 25 Jan 23:27 PORTUGAL/ SPORTING, Newcastle's offer for Carrillo refused
- 25 Jan 22:57 GERMANY/ BORUSSIA D., No longer interested in Diarra
- 25 Jan 22:29 BELGIUM/ STANDARD, M'Poku intended to leave
- 25 Jan 21:59 GERMANY/ BORUSSIA, Eyes on Abdulrahman
- 25 Jan 21:30 SPAIN/ VALENCIA, New contract offered to Alcacer
- 25 Jan 21:00 ENGLAND/ OFFICIAL, Delph renews with Aston Villa
- 25 Jan 20:27 HOLLAND/ AJAX, Also Palermo after Moisander
- 25 Jan 19:57 GERMANY/ HANNOVER, Done for Stojanovic
- 25 Jan 19:29 PORTUGAL/ OFFICIAL, Baiano renews with Braga
- 25 Jan 18:59 FRANCE/ SAINT-ETIENNE, Idea Novillo
- 25 Jan 18:30 GERMANY/ WOLFSBURG, Eyes on Farrona-Pulido
- 25 Jan 18:00 ITALY/ FIORENTINA, Back for Salah
- 25 Jan 17:00 SPAIN/ VALENCIA, Lead on Lavezzi
- 25 Jan 16:00 ITALY/ INTER, Also Darmian on the wishlist
- 25 Jan 15:00 SPAIN/ OFFICIAL, Campbell joins Villarreal
- 25 Jan 14:00 ITALY/ JUVENTUS, Done for Necid
- 25 Jan 13:00 ENGLAND/ OFFICIAL, Paulista joins Arsenal
- 25 Jan 12:00 GERMANY/ HAMBURG, Offer for Kuzmanovic
- 25 Jan 11:27 ENGLAND/ OFFICIAL, First pro contract for Suliman
- 25 Jan 10:57 GREECE/ OFFICIAL, Ergotelis sign Houla
- 25 Jan 10:29 ITALY/ AC MILAN, Offer for Everton Ribeiro
- 25 Jan 09:59 TURKEY/ BASAKSEHIR, Interest for Capel
- 25 Jan 09:30 ITALY/ ROMA, Still keen on Chiriches
- 25 Jan 09:00 TURKEY/ TRABZONSPOR, Offer for Kroos
- 25 Jan 08:27 ITALY/ LAZIO, Djordjevic injured
- 25 Jan 07:57 PSG, Blanc: "Only Chantome has asked to leave"
- 25 Jan 07:29 BAYERN, Rummenigge: "We wanted Brandt, but..."
- 25 Jan 06:59 SWANSEA, Monk: "I think Gomis will stay"
- 25 Jan 06:00 NAPOLI, Mertens: "I have no reasons to leave"
- 25 Jan 00:00 ITALY/ INTER, Summer plan for signing Yaya Touré
Currently on a deal with Olympique Marseille until June 2016, Cameroonian international centre-back Nicolas N'Koulou (24), according to latest rumours coming from both English and French sources, has been targeted again by Arsenal management. Not equipped with a second EU pas
AC Milan defender Adil Rami has declared: "When you arrive at Milan you don't want to go anywhere else, I feel well here, I like th history o
Real Madrid coach Sergio Ramos has declared about 28-year-old defender Sergio Ramos: "He has always given everything for the team, he is motivate
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has declared about Manchester United 30-year-old midfielder Darren Fletcher: "I don’t know whether he will c
PSG 25-year-old forward Javier Pastore has declared: "Do I want to sign a contract extension with PSG? I am in love with France and with PSG, and
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has declared: "I am happy in Munich, my family is well and Bayern have the best team in the world".