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Boksic feels heat after spell of Teesside gloom

Monday 20th May 2002

Croatia forward Alen Boksic has admitted he will find it tough acclimatising to the sweltering conditions in Japan after his spell in the north-east of England.

"I haven't seen the sun for two years in Middlesbrough and now I'm here it is hard work," he said, after leaving his country's pre-World Cup training camp in Austria.

"We worked very hard in Austria and it was very hot throughout the week," he said.

The former Juventus striker was ruled out of the last World Cup through injury but is fit to this time and relishing the opportunity. "I am very satisfied with how things are going," he explained.

"I had problems with an ankle injury but now I'm fine. When there is no pain, it's easier to work.

"I have had a fantastic career, but I hope that now I'll get to do something I haven't done before - play in the world's biggest competition."

However, the veteran admits his side's task has been made more difficult by Igor Tudor's withdrawal through injury. "We will miss him a lot. He gives us a lot of confidence and strength. It would be much easier if we had him on board," said Boksic.

"The team at France 98 had been together for six or seven years, but this is a new team with a different coach and different tactics. If we pass the first round we must be happy."
 
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