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Croatia can surprise, says Jelavic

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 7 Jun 2012

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Everton striker Nikica Jelavic is confident that Croatia can spring a surprise and qualify from Group C at this month’s Euro 2012.

Slaven Bilic’s side have been drawn in a mouth-watering group alongside World Cup winners and Euro holders Spain, a rejuvenated Italy and Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland.

But while Jelavic is aware that it will be a tough ask, he is confident that they will not let their country down.

“We have a difficult group but there are no easy games at the Euros,” the striker told Everton’s official website.

“We have a good team, good players and a good manager so hopefully we can reach a high level in the Euros because the people in Croatia expect a lot from us.

“I am so happy to go, it is my first big tournament and hopefully we can do some good things there. We have a good team and we can do well.”

The Croatian front man has been in imperious form since his 5.5 million-pound move from Rangers in January, scoring 11 goals in just 13 appearances for the Toffees.

Speaking ahead of his nation’s opener against Republic of Ireland on Sunday, Jelavic spoke of his joy at seeing Goodison Park team-mate Darron Gibson selected by their upcoming opponents.

“We are looking forward to facing Ireland and I am really happy for Darron that he got picked and is going,” he said.

“Obviously I hope he starts on the bench as he is a very good player. I do hope we beat them but it is a difficult game.

“We have played them six times I think and only won once.”

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