Bilic: Simple” Ireland hold few surprises

Ireland are a simple team to analyse and are unlikely to surprise Croatia in their opening Euro 2012 match on Sunday, Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said on Saturday.

“"I follow the Irish team and I know everything about them," said the Croatia coach, as he mumbled and sighed his way through a news conference looking bored with proceedings.

"Their football is simple to analyse and I don't think there's any way they can surprise us. On the other hand, I don't think we can surprise them either."

Ireland come into the tournament on the back of an exceptional run of 14 unbeaten games in which they have conceded only three goals. Coach Giovanni Trapattoni has openly been talking about the advantages of a draw in the first game and they are expected to defend deep in numbers.

Bilic, who will step down as Croatia coach at the end of the tournament after six years at the helm, spoke proudly of the small nation's record since independence in 1992.

"We have consistently been in the top 10 teams in the world, which is phenomenal for our country," he said.

"We have missed only two tournaments, we are proud of this and we are respected, our opponents are sometimes shocked at how a small country we are."