Slaven Bilic scared of Spain ahead of crunch match
Croatia have been told they face a huge mountain to climb if they're to make the quarter-finals.
That warning came from boss Slaven Bilic who is looking to lead his side to the quarters for the second consecutive tournament.
The Balkans boys have four points from their two games so far against Ireland and Italy. However, in their final Group C clash tonight they face defending champions Spain, who are looking every inch like champions again. And the Croatians know they have to put in a performance of a lifetime if they
are to guarantee progression to the last eight.
“What I can say is that we will need to play the best game of our lives,” Bilic said ahead of the showdown in Gdansk. “We will have to be concentrated for 90 minutes. We have to work as a team and we’re going to have to take our chances because we are going to have
A Croatia victory would mean first place and an automatic trip to Donetsk to play the Group D runner-up. Should Italy beat Ireland, a draw would still be enough to guarantee both reach the knockout stages, as long as it is by a scoreline of at least 2-2.
In the other Group C match Italy, who have two points, face the Irish in Poznan knowing that even victory may not be enough to get them through. However, the Azzurri, a bunch known, at least in their own domestic leagues, for indulging in a few underhand practices, are confident Spain and the Croats won’t be copying them and manufacturing a 2-2 scoreline.
Midfielder Thiago Motta said: “They are professionals. It won’t happen, everyone will do their own jobs.”
That then leaves the Italians’ one concern that Ireland, managed by their old boss Giovanni Trapattoni, will throw the form book out of the window and create an upset.
Having been soundly beaten by both Spain and Croatia, the Irish have looked out of their depth in Poland. But with Trapattoni as their manager Italy boss Cesare Prandelli knows Italy will have to be at their best to beat them.
“Trapattoni won’t do us any favours,” the former Juventus man said.
“And that’s how it should be. I’m not expecting anything easy from Ireland. They want to win.”