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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Bilic appointed new Croatia coach
Slaven Bilic has been appointed Croatia's new coach
Bilic was in the Croatia team which finished third in the 1998 World Cup
Former West Ham and Everton defender Slaven Bilic has been named as Croatia's new coach.

He succeeds Zlatko Kranjcar who was dismissed after Croatia's failure to get into the second round in the recent World Cup in Germany.

Bilic, 37, coached Croatia's under-21 team and played in the team that finished third in the 1998 World Cup.

His first match is a friendly against World Champions Italy, who will also have a new coach in Roberto Donadoni.

Bilic's task will be to steer Croatia to qualification for the 2008 European Championships.

Croatia's qualifying group includes England, Russia, Israel, Macedonia, Estonia and Andorra, prompting Bilic to say: "We face a tough bumpy road, but we're not afraid."

Bilic joined West Ham from German club Karlsruhe for 1.3m in February 1996.

He spent just over a year at Upton Park before joining Everton in May 1997 for 4.5m.

After a three-year spell at Goodison Park he returned for a second spell at Hajduk Split where he began his career.

Bilic was roundly castigated for a piece of play-acting which got Laurent Blanc sent off in the 1998 World Cup semi-final, causing the France defender to miss the final.

SEE ALSO
Krancjar optimistic despite loss
13 Jun 06 |  Croatia


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