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Saturday, 21 June 2008


(From Slobodna Dalmacija, Croatian national daily newspaper)

After the defeat Croatian coach Slaven Bilić sadly faced seat in front of the journalists.

- The match was good and congratulations to all participants. It was a game with incredible ending that can happen only in football. In 120 minutes we had more clear chances, and they had their pressure that was lasted from time to time. They were not indifferent, but I think that we were much better rival. It is not possible to describe the last two minutes and we will be hunted by it for the rest of our lives – Bilić started his story.

How did you experience stressful penalties?

- Penalties are lottery. I am proud of my players and there is nothing I can object to them at all. But we are sad and unhappy because we thought that with this team we can go up to the end. We haven't deserved to loose.

With such a little time after Klasnić gained the goal it did not occur nobody's mind that Turks can return.

- It was not in my mind that we will receive a goal, but pressure from their side was expected. After the first minute we had kept the ball, we started the counter-attack that ended in hinterland. Ball bounced to ninth and it ended the way it ended – Bilić remembered.

Received goal was wind in the back for Croatian rival just before execution of the strike eleven meters away.

- To accede the penalties after it looked that it was over was shocking. Turks were in physiological head start. I do not know what was players had in their minds, but I am sure that they were rewinding the received goal. In two minutes before execution of the penalty everybody were talking about that goal - said Bilić.

Everybody was under the stress since the best player, in 120 minutes, Luka Modrić missed the first penalty already.

- Luka was awesome and he did not deserve to miss the penalty. By the way, during the whole tournament he was masterful. Honestly, not any player either ours or Turkish did not deserve to miss. And Turks? It is already the third match they are wining in extreme way and if the luck and persistence will follow them during the match with Germany, it is likely possible that they will enter the finals. It is obvious that besides quality there is something more that pushes them forward, something that matches for them. They are handicapped, they have one day lass for resting, and physically they exhausted themselves in the second game. With lots of wounded it will be difficult. May be some of them will return. I know that Turks will not give up until the end.

There is World Championship ahead of Croatia.

- It is not easy to forget this and move forward. This is not match that is playing weekly. The way we lost is difficult. This is impossible to forget. On the other side, we have to move forward, we have young team, and qualifications for the World championship are in front of the door. But tomorrow will be a new day and the sun will shine. My players have terrific character, we will return even bigger.

Bilić mentioned extension of extension.

The referee prolongs for two minutes, and we thought that is was over. It is specific situation when minutes are flying away for them and dragging for us. We tried two – three times to make a switch, the player was ready. I do not know why he did not allow us. But we are not making excuse on referee, it was not his fault. If he played the end, Turks would be attacked by Turks.

What did players say?

Luka Modrić came with red eyes, and he was not hiding that he was crying:

- This is a great sorrow and disappointment, with the goal in the last second Turkey bitted us psychologically. Well, how can I know would it be different if it was 0:0, who would know it now? The truth is that after the goal we were nervous about penalties, in two minutes we saw ourselves in semi-finals, and it would the fair because we played good and we had much more chances.

Dario Šimić:

- I am in sock. In 119th minute I saw us in semi-finals. A minute later I couldn't believe what was happening. I have never experienced something like this. It was difficult to suffer this in change room, especially for young players.

Stipe Pletikosa:

- What to say? I still cannot believe that this is happening. Is there in the world a team that scores goals in the last minutes in three matches at row?

Interview by: Pero Smolčić

Translated by: Lejla Gotovuša


Anonymous said...

Bilic started well as a coach but time has proved he still has a lot to learn, especially from the likes of Capello and co. He needs to decide if he wants to be a rock star or football coach. He also needs to learn to keep his mouth shut and make sure his players do the talking on the field and for the full duration of a match.

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