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I've posted this in the Belgian forum too, but to make sure that King Italy doesn't look like a fool (;) :D ) I'll repost it here

"I'm not sure what to think of this draw. The Croatian team is getting older and older, but still they finished ahead of us for the world cup.

I guess Andorra is a walk over. We should win against Estonia, but anyone who saw the game Estonia - The Netherlands will know better than to think it's gonna be easy.

The big mystery to me is Bulgaria. They had an awesome team in the early to mid '90's but all those players are gone now. The national coach is trying to build a new team with youngsters, but we'll have to wait and see how well they do.

All in all, I think Belgium should be able to qualify, but it won't be easy. And we shouldn't forgot that, in a contrast with how well we've done in qualifying for the world cup over the last 20 years, we failed to qualify for any EC since 1984"
 

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And now I'm sure that TJK and others are gonna reply to tell me how they're gonna beat the crap out of us :)
 

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Q007 said:
And now I'm sure that TJK and others are gonna reply to tell me how they're gonna beat the crap out of us :)
You know us too well Q007 ;)

One thing that i find strange is that u say that the Croatian team is getting older and older :rolleyes: Apart from Prosinecki,Suker,Jarni,Boksic all the rest i would expect to take part and even maybe a couple of those 4 could take part i guess we will have to just wait and see. This qualifying campaign should see the emergence of the Croatian team of the future as many young stars should be pressing for selection like Kranjcar,Olic,Bjelanovic and Carevic for example so to say we are an ageing team i find quite strange.

The Croatian defence will remain intact with Kovac,Tudor,Simic
Zivkovic,Simunic etc and along with majority of the squad that overcame Belgium in the last campaign so i really cant see the Belgians or Bulgarians challenging us for first spot :D

Estonia and Andorra are the minnows and that should be 12 points guranteed ;) Bulgaria are a bit of a mystery and thus unpredictable and they should be an interesting opponent but nevertheless i am confident Croatia can get 4 points at least from Bulgaria as well as Belgium and thus qualify for Euro 2004 :)

Football is a strange game and anything is possible so we will just have to wait and see how this group pans out most likely in Croatia's favour :D
 

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What I meant is that Prosinecki,Suker,Jarni,Boksic etc are world class players who have proven what they're capable of but they're definitely getting old.

I'm not familiar with the younger players you mention. They might be as good, but that still needs to be proven. I hope they don't prove it against Belgium :)

I wish you all the best, but of course I think we'll beat ya :D
 

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Q007,

I know you'll get bored, but Croatia has a relatively young team. Balaban, Biscan, Tudor, Simic, Tomas, Kovac, Stanic, Vlaovic, Vugrinec, Zivkovic, Vranjes, Rapaic and Pletikosa will all be in their prime at the time of the qualifiers. These are first team regulars, and will certainly mould into a better team having one qualification campaign and a WC behind them.

Suker is a non factor, hasn't played for a while for the NT, and Boksic says he will surely play for another 2 years. He will be 33 in the qualifiers.

Prosinecki is also confident of playing in Euro2004, he'll be 34.

We have a youth team which came 3rd in Europe twice, maybe some of them will shine for us.

Though good luck to the Belgians, I still think 1st place is Croatia's. ;)
 

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Q007 said:
What I meant is that Prosinecki,Suker,Jarni,Boksic etc are world class players who have proven what they're capable of but they're definitely getting old.

I'm not familiar with the younger players you mention. They might be as good, but that still needs to be proven. I hope they don't prove it against Belgium.

I think that is a fair point. Yes Croatia does have alot of players coming through but they must first prove themselves. Some have some havn't.

I naturally think Croatia will win the group but Q007 good luck to your team. I am sure you will make it through the play off. :tongue:
 

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Ero said:
Q007,

I know you'll get bored, but Croatia has a relatively young team. Balaban, Biscan, Tudor, Simic, Tomas, Kovac, Stanic, Vlaovic, Vugrinec, Zivkovic, Vranjes, Rapaic and Pletikosa will all be in their prime at the time of the qualifiers.
Way cool :cool:
One of Sweden's best handballer's name is Ljubomir Ljubo Vranjes:star:
He's 1.65 cm, and pretty muscular, so he's aka the flying meetball :D

As for the qualification group...

Croatia
Belgium
Estonia
Bulgaria
Andorra

Getting new young players to replace old ones can be painfull, but since Croatia is one of the best countries in getting new young players I think this should be no bigger problem.
Better NOT underestimate Estonia, as Q007 mentioned, we have the game Estonia vs Netherlands in fresh memory.
If Bulgaria doesn't do any drastic changes, they'll prolly end up with the spot I've predicted.
Andorra...no comments :D
 

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Cracker said:

Croatia
Belgium
Estonia
Bulgaria
Andorra
:rollani:

Just being very very pro Belgium, forgive me :D
 

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Q007

You need to do more homework on the Croatian team :D

Here is some info...

Goalkeepers:

Pletikosa - 21 (our starting keeper for the last 1.5 years)
Runje - 26 (best keeper in Beligum for 2 years in a row)


Defence:

Tudor - 23 (already a superstar...one of the worlds best defenders, irreplacable at Juve)
Simic - 26 (one of the best markers in Europe...already proven)
R. Kovac - 27 (one of the best defenders in Budesliga...plays for Bayern, already proven)
Simunic - 21 (Plays for Hertha in Germany...huge talent...some comparing him to Beckenbauer)
Zivkovic - 26 (proven player...starter in Bayer L.)

Midfield:

N. Kovac - 28 (starter in Bayern...already proven)
Vugrinec - 27 (starter in Lecce...team leader and proven player in Italy)
Rapajic - 27 (superstar in Turkey...plays for Fenerbache)
Stanic - 29 (I hope you know him...plays for Chelsea)
Vranjes - 21 (loads of talent...yet to prove himself...plays for Bayer)
Biscan - 23 (see above for Vranjes...plays for Liverpool)
Carevic - 19 (Huuuuuuuge talent...one of the biggest in Croatia for a looooong time)
Seric - 22 (already proved himself...starter for Verona in Serie A)
Budan - 21 (loads of talent...unproven...plays for Werder Bremen)

Attack:
Balaban - 22 (proved himself in the NT and in Croatia needs to do so in EPL)
Olic - 21 (IMHO better than Balaban...leading scorer in Croatia)
Bjelanovic - 22 (proved himself in Croatia and in UEFA cup this year)
Petric - 20 (Swiss regret losing him to Croatia...described as already an excellent player...plays for Grasshoppers in Switzerland)


I haven't even included Boksic, Vlaovic, Jarni, Prosinecki all of whome I think will be back. I also didn't mention the likes of Niko Kranjcar (17) and other very young players whose time is yet to come.

Finally...don't forget that Croatia was 3rd in U-18 EC in 1998 and 3rd in U-16 EC in 2001.

Hope this helps.
 

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Just remember what I am saying ... it would be hard for us to qualify but we surely can beat you both Beliums and Croats ... 3rd palce is guaranteed as we are far better than Estonia but I wouldn't be surprised if the first game Belgium - Bulgaria finishes in a draw...

Interesting fact is that Croatia and Bulgaria play on Wen ...
 

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I don't know too much of Croatian soccer but we can surely see that there is being renewal in Croatia NT. IMO they are the favourites to win this group. Belgium is a fairly organized team but has its limitations. Bulgaria didn't play well this WC qualifying but they are always a team to be aware of but I don't think they will make it.

obs...Belgium and Croatia played on the same group in the WC qualifying.
About that list of young croat players many of them play on the German soccer and this could be a key since they have ability but they learn the physical and disciplined game of the Germans.
And right now I don't remember his name, a very good prospect of Dinamo Zagreb which I saw him play against Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Uefa Cup if someone could help me here I would apreciate.;) :D
 

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I don't like being drawn with Belgium again, to win our group twice in succession with them will be difficult.

Bulgaria plays a similar style to us and although they're rebuilding, they'll be a tough team to beat.

Estonia could pull out a draw aginast one of the top 3 and cause some problems, maybe not likely, but possible.

Andorra is just happy to be there.

I'd rather wait until after the WC to make predictions, a lot can change between now and then.

As it stands, I'm confident that we can win the group, but I don't know that we will.

After we win the world cup this year, we might think too much of ourselves and think that the group is gonna be a walk in the park, a day at the beach, stealing candy from a baby.

Of course, I don't mean to sound cocky:nervous:


:tongue:
 

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Well, I think that Bulgaria is a strong young team, capable of upsetting anyone there. They play a physical style and their team will surely improve by the qualifiers.

Belgium is an old customer, and we'll fight it out with them for top spot.
 

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1. Croatia
2. Belgium
3. Bulgaria
4. Estonia
5. Andorra

Croatia will be playing Estonia on September 7th, in Osijek (i think its Osijek). I wouldn't say this is an easy game for Croatia but i think we will win. Maybe 1-0 or 2-0. I want the line-up to be a 4-4-2

Pletikosa
Zivkovic-Simic-Tudor (is he ready yet?? :confused: ) R.Kovac

Stanic------------------------------N.Kovac
Vugrinec--------------------------Rapajic

Olic------------------------------Boksic

I do not want to see Jarni or Prosinecki start. I don't even want Prosinecki on this team!! :mad: . Will our back-up goalie for this game be Runje or Butina. If Runje starts i know Pletikosa will be the 2nd goalie. I would like to see Stipe Pletikosa start but i think many of you guys wanna see Runje start.
 

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tudors not ready yet, at least i dont believe so.

i think croazia will win this group closely followed by belgium. im unfamilliar with bulgaria these days and im sure theyve managed to rebuild the team to a certain extent, but i think they might come up short. belgium might win the group since croazias performances fluctuate.
 
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