Croatia’s perfect start to their Euro 2012 campaign has given them the confidence to beliee they can beat both Italy and Spain in their remaining games. That is the opinion of Niko Kranjcar who has sent a warning to his sides next two opponents.
Kranjcar helped the Croatians to a 3-1 win over Ireland in a game where the Croatians put in an impressive performance. There impressive display has convinced the former Tottenham player that his side can make it to at least the semi finals. If they do it will not be the easiest of routes, with Cesc Fabregas‘s Spain, Italy and either Wayne Rooney‘s England or France likely to stand in their way. Their confidence though is unwavering. “We are aiming high. We are a nation that believes, even in a group with Italy and Spain that we can go through. Not many nations say that.”
Impressive as they were in their opening game Croatia can’t read too much into their first game. The Irish let themselves down in a major way and showed only glimpses of what they are genuinely capable of. The real test of the Croatians’ ability starts now. If they can impress against Spain and maybe even get a result they will be talked about as real contenders in this group and maybe for the semi final place that Kranjcar has targeted for them.
Kranjcar has sympathy for the Irish, admitting that he had expected more from them but expressing some sympathy for the timing of Croatia’s goals. Scoring early in both halves and late in the first made it incredibly difficult for an Irish side that already knew they were huge underdogs in the game and in the group.
Croatia needed a result against the Irish to have any hopes of advancing. They got one, but now the hard work really starts.