THE playoffs SLOVENIJA : Croatia - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 08:52 Thread Starter
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THE playoffs SLOVENIJA : Croatia

There it is dudes, we got our neighbours for this cruical duel! Man what matches are those promissing to be, just can't wait! This will be one looooong month. This should be the thread will all the playoff related stuff.

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post #2 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 09:03
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I'm just hoping that noone will get injured, especially not Knavs as we are quite weak in defence without him and I'm not even gonna try and explain what I think of our subs.

The most important mission will be to stop Olić!
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post #3 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 10:28
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this is really going to be a great playoff. In my mind, this is the marquee matchup. I think there will be a lot of goals, and really exciting and beautiful football will be played.

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post #4 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 13:51
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man...this will be a great couple of matches. Crotia is without our best player, Bayern's Robert Kovac who is a rock in defense. But we've got Prso back so the front looks a lot better than before.

I would say we are the better team. We are better individually and we passed through a tougher group. Croatia hasn't lost at home for 13 years, and we've never lost tp Slovenia, so this goes in our favour. Or does it?

He must keep the goal machine Siljak in check, I suspect this is where the man-marking skills of Milan's Dario Simic will have a role. Also Zahovic can be a game breaker so I expect Leko to have more defensive duties.

As for us, we will be highly motivated. The crowd in Zagreb/Split will surely be thunderous and we will attack in the first game. Given a good result, we will counter in the second with the speedy Olic supported by Prso, Srna, Rapaic and Leko.

I think the chances are about 60/40 in our favour.


And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
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post #5 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 14:01
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Good analysis, Ero.

I think our defence is a key to success. We will probably score sooner or later with Siljak or Zahovic's free-kick or a header from Knavs, Pavlin or Sukalo. But how many goals will Croatia score? Our defence without Milinovic and Galic is not what it used to be. Vugdalic and Cipot are good, but still not as good as Milinovic and Galic. But then again, we beated Romania without Knavs, our best defender, who should be fit for this clash. However, also Simeunovic is starting to worry me, after the Cyprus embarassment. My prediction would be like this:
if in the first game, we lose by 2 goals or more, we are out.
if we lose by 1 goal, everything is possible, with Croatia still having an advantage, specially if they win 1:0.
If the result of the first game will be 0:0, both teams have even chances with to advance.
if we manage to draw (with goals scored) or win, we are very close to Euro2004.

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post #6 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 21:03
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My prediction is that if we lose the first game by any margin... we are out...

If croatia plays defensively and we have to attack at home... rapaic and olic will kill us... come on... you'we seen our defence in action...

I really can't say how big our chances are... you have to remember that prasnikar hasn't really proven anything yet...

Cyprus and isreal are not teams that can be compared to croatia...
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post #7 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 21:33
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The thing which may kill Slovenia is that they had, all in all, an easy group (apart from "you-can't-ever-be-as-good-as-us" France) while Croatia had more competitive matchups (Bulgaria, Belgium, even Estonia), but then again Slovenia played more qualification matches.

And does anyone here think this whole draw thing was a little fishy?
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post #8 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 21:37
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ner_Zhul44
My prediction is that if we lose the first game by any margin... we are out...
And then people say my views are pessimistic...

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post #9 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 21:39
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good luck for your squad
post #10 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 21:40
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Quote:
Originally posted by lili pot de colle
good luck for your squad
Thanks.

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post #11 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 21:42
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Quote:
Originally posted by Andrija PFC
The thing which may kill Slovenia is that they had, all in all, an easy group (apart from "you-can't-ever-be-as-good-as-us" France) while Croatia had more competitive matchups (Bulgaria, Belgium, even Estonia), but then again Slovenia played more qualification matches.
Indeed, Croatia had much more difficult matches than we had. I don't know if this will be decisive, but it surely shows that they are a strong team.

Quote:

And does anyone here think this whole draw thing was a little fishy?
I don't think so, but then again, I may be wrong.

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post #12 of 354 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2003, 23:13
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If it ends 0-0 in Zagreb I tip the scales in Slovenia's favour.


And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 354 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2003, 03:06
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You know... i don't even like the 0-0... If we draw it should be at least 2-2 for us to have a chance...

If this was our old nt, with srecko, milinovic, galic, ceh... i would be very sure we would go through...

But this team is not nearly as good imo...
It maybe a bit better offensively but the defence is 10x worse...

Maybe i'm wrong who can say... as i said before this team hasn't really played against any good nts (well france is not good it's great and they defeated us without any problems), so we can't know for sure how everything will look on the pitch...
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post #14 of 354 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2003, 06:52 Thread Starter
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There are all scenarios possible for both leggs. Of course Croatia are favourites, they are better, but hey that doesn't mean they will win for sure. Knowing them they will go with all guns fireing at us in the first match, so defence will have a lot of work there. And that's also our biggest problem, the defence. I belive that upfront and in the midfield we are OK, we have capable players both offensively and defensively, so there should be no greater problems there. The defence is a story on it's own. The only solid defender is Knavs, not solid but great. But all his capabilities are in vain when he is partnered with very medicore players. Vugdalic is good and has played some great games for us (Romania), but can be so naive, while Cipot just doesn't have the experience for shuch clashes. That's I belive our first choice defensive line up right now. From the subs there is Bulajic who is a mistery to me, he is a capable player I saw hih many times play for his club and he did great but every time he plays for NT he seems somewhat lost outthere. I don't know about Šnofl I thought he did well against France and that comes Cyprus! Simeunovic is normaly very reliable but even he is not his old self anymore. So there are quite some worries for us in the back and with the fast and attacking football the croats play we will need some luck to go with it all to help us.
I hope Knavs and Zaho will be ready untill than. Knavs really doesn't have his year with all those injuries troubeling him, I pray that he'll be fit. Zaho on the other hand only takes his plaster off next week so I wonder how ready will he be. We need him, that's a fact. With both of them on the team and fit we are much better. Still I can't help myself from not being optimistic, I think we have a great chance to go through. It will be tough, but we can do it!

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post #15 of 354 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2003, 07:36
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I agree Walter. Our NT is very much solid except for in defence. With Siljak up front and maybe Cimerotic pairing with him we would be great. But going by my gut again, I feel something will stop Cimerotic from playing. This leaves most likely IMO Zahovic. We can afford to have him up front because we have many great midfielders. As long as Ceh is fit I think our attack will be complete, his passes will be a key in our goals. With Sukalo, Acimovic, Karic, Pavlin, Rudonja and Kapic all able to play well, I think we are fine here in midfield also. The big problem is the defence. I think that without Knavs, we will nearly surely lose. I pray that he is fit enough in time for our matches. Vugdalic and Cipot arnt bad, but they arnt good either. Bulajic has impressed me for his club, so maybe he is ready to play a big game in the NT. I say that unless we score a goal in Croatia, we will have big problems trying to advance. I am confident that we will win at home, so the telling match will be the first one. If we can manage a 1-1 draw or more than we should be fine. Just my thoughts.
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post #16 of 354 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2003, 07:46
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I know Biscan plays well for Liverpool, but I'm not sure on how he performs for Croatia. Anyway, here is a news article from the UEFA website.

Bišcan barred by Baric
Tuesday, 14 October 2003

Croatia coach Otto Baric said he would no longer select Igor Bišcan for international duty after the Liverpool FC midfield player deserted the team's training camp on Saturday.

Recent recall
Bišcan was recalled to Baric's squad for Croatia's decisive UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 8 play-off game against Bulgaria in Zagreb on Saturday. However, he stormed out of the team hotel upon hearing he had failed to make the substitutes' bench for the match.

'No second chance'
As a direct consequence of the 25-year-old's unannounced departure, Baric said: "While I am coaching this national team Bišcan will never play again. He should have been patient - he will never get a second chance."

'Quality player'
Croatian Football Federation president Vlatko Markovic echoed the coach's words. "I've never heard of a similar case," he said. "Bišcan was nowhere for years and after a few good games he was invited back to the national team. And he simply leaves without saying goodbye. He is a quality player but such behaviour will bring him no good."

Houllier support
Bišcan arrived back at training with Liverpool on Sunday and club coach Gerard Houllier said: "Igor came to see me and told me that he simply walked out of the squad because he wasn't in the 18." Croatia defeated Bulgaria 1-0 to earn a two-legged play-off against Slovenia, the winners of which will progress to EURO 2004™ next summer.
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post #17 of 354 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2003, 15:32 Thread Starter
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Biscan is out as the article says due to his escape from the preparation base before the Bulgaria game. I think Baric is only right not to call such player into the NT any more.

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post #18 of 354 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2003, 16:04
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Biscan hasn't played for Croatia in 2 years...he has only ever played 7 games..

Our defense is good enough without him. Kovac, Simunic, Tudor, Simic, Zivkovic, Tomas...Igor can stay in Liverpool


And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Rudyard Kipling
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post #19 of 354 (permalink) Old October 16th, 2003, 09:22 Thread Starter
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I know that, and yes your defence is OK, but hey sooner or latter every wall has to fall.

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post #20 of 354 (permalink) Old October 16th, 2003, 11:30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ero
Biscan hasn't played for Croatia in 2 years...he has only ever played 7 games..

Our defense is good enough without him. Kovac, Simunic, Tudor, Simic, Zivkovic, Tomas...Igor can stay in Liverpool
Funny how he always performs for Cro Nt and lasts for whole 90 minutes,whereas he's always injured for Juve :depress:
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