Euro 2012 play-offs

Bilic hails 'fantastic' Croatia display

Croatia coach admitted it surpassed his own pre-match expectations

ESPN staff

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has admitted his side's 3-0 victory over Turkey surpassed his own pre-match expectations, as he celebrated taking a huge step towards the Euro 2012 finals.

Goals from Ivica Olic, Mario Mandzukic and Vedran Corluka handed Croatia a comfortable away win that all but secures their place at next summer's tournament in Ukraine and Poland. And for Bilic, who guided Croatia to Euro 2008 but fell short in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, the comprehensive nature of the result came as a surprise.

"When you come to such a stadium, nobody expects this score," Bilic said. "We knew they were easily affected like us. Then the early goal gave us an advantage.

"Turkey passed the ball well in the first half, but instead we scored the second goal. Then we decided that we'd try to find another goal after half-time. "We deserved to win by even more goals. It was fantastic. I want to congratulate all my players. They played the whole match without making any mistakes. It was really amazing."

Croatia welcome Turkey to Zagreb next Tuesday as heavy favourites to progress, But Bilic insisted he will be taking nothing for granted.

"We have some problems with injuries so a lot of our players will not play in Zagreb on Tuesday," he said. "Nothing is over yet. It is half-time. There is a hard task in front of us."

© PA

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