Croatia’s goal-scorer Ivica Olic fired his country into the quarter-finals and said only further Euro 2008 glory in the knock-out phase could better their 2-1 group stage win over Germany.
The Germans were left reeling after Hamburg striker Olic hit a 63rd minute goal which put his team 2-0 up before Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski pulled back a consolation goal for Germany as Croatia made the quarters.
Germany now need at least a point against Austria in Monday’s final Group B clash in Vienna to make the knock-out phase, while Croatia look set to meet the Czech Republic or Turkey in Vienna on June 20 in their last eight match.
“The most beautiful victory would be in the final or the semi final, but that win was very important for the team,” said the 28-year-old.
Croatia began their Euro 2008 campaign with a 1-0 win over Austria last Sunday, but Olic said the performance against Germany was far more convincing.
“After the Austria game, where the game wasn’t so good, we won but there was a lot of criticism about our performance,” he said.
“We were great (against Germany), we played well, had a few moments, more than Germany, they only tried long balls.”
And Croatia’s Portsmouth midfielder Niko Kranjcar says his side now fear nobody.
“It was a big match for us and big win for us and we’ve proven we can play any team in the world, but we’ve had the best start to the tournament.”
Under charismatic coach Slaven Bilic, Croatia claimed their second major scalp in less than a year with victory over Germany having beaten England 3-2 at Wembley Stadium last November.
Croatia will now face Poland in their final Group B match on Monday in Klagenfurt, the same day as Germany play Austria.
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