Croatia midfielder Niko Kranjcar believes his side have the ability to make it through to the final stages of Euro 2012 following their convincing 3-1 win against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday.
Slaven Bilic’s team produced one of the most impressive performances and football scores of the opening round of fixtures, outclassing Giovanni Trapattoni’s men and after Group C favourites Spain and Italy could only manage a 1-1 draw in their opening game, the Croats currently sit top of their pool.
Croatia face the Azzurri in their next live football game on Thursday and know victory will guarantee their place in the last eight of the championships in Poland and Ukraine.
The Vatreni made it through to the quarter-finals four years ago before going out on penalties to Turkey and despite the quality of their opponents, are understandably confident of earning a place in the knockout rounds.
Kranjcar, who came on as a substitute in the win over the Republic, believes his team are potential outsiders to win the tournament and says they will be disappointed if they don’t make it through to at least the semi-finals.
"We are aiming high. We are a nation that believes, even in a group with Italy and Spain, that we can go through. Not many nations would say that,” he said.
"We believe we are going to prove we are a team that can beat anybody on our day. Hopefully, then, euphoria will take us further, a step closer than four years ago, because we want to reach the semi-finals at least.
"We know that nobody expects us to beat Italy and Spain, except us. But we believe in ourselves, in our quality,” he added.