Bilic relishing revenge against Turkey
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said Thursday he was dreaming of avenging their dramatic UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final defeat by Turkey after drawing Guus Hiddink's side in the play-offs for a place at EURO 2012.
"They are strong opponents, but not stronger than us," Bilic said in Zagreb after Thursday's draw in Poland. "We've been waiting, dreaming for three years to avenge that (match in Vienna)."
Four years ago Turkey beat Croatia 3-1 on penalties after the match had finished 1-1 after extra time. Semih Senturk levelled for Turkey in the first minute of time added on after Ivan Klasnic had given the Croatians the lead in the 119th minute.
Bilic said this time it will be different. "We have a better quality side and we have to go further," he said, admitting however that in Dutchman Hiddink the Turks have "one of the best coaches in the world". "I respect him very much, but he is not the one who is playing," he added.
The first match is to be played in Turkey, but Bilic believes that will play to Croatia's advantage. "In each match played at home they (Turkey) are running for a victory and pile on the pressure. If we manage to soak it up that will give us space to punish them on the counter attack."
Earlier this week Bilic said he was to blame for his side's failure to obtain direct qualification for the EURO 2012 finals as they finished second in group F behind Greece.