Jelavic - Croatia can shine

Everton striker looking forward to first major tournament

Nikica Jelavic: Believes Croatia can make an impact at the European Championship

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Nikica Jelavic is confident that Croatia can perform well on the European stage this summer and meet the expectations of their people.

Slaven Bilic's side have been placed in a tricky-looking Group C alongside Spain, Italy and Republic of Ireland, and Jelavic admits it will be a tough task to progress in the tournament.

But he is looking forward to the challenge and believes Croatia have the potential to make an impact in Poland and Ukraine.

"We have a difficult group but there are no easy games at the Euros," the striker said on Everton's official website.

"We have a good team, good players and a good manager so hopefully we can reach a high level in the Euros because the people in Croatia expect a lot from us.

"I am so happy to go, it is my first big tournament and hopefully we can do some good things there. We have a good team and we can do well."

Ireland test

Croatia begin their campaign against an Ireland side that could feature Jelavic's Everton team-mate Darron Gibson, although he is expected to start on the substitutes' bench.

Jelavic is anticipating a difficult clash but hopes Bilic will come up with a plan to take Croatia to victory.

"Bilic is a great manager but not only that, away from football he is a great guy as well," added Jelavic.

"We are looking forward to facing Ireland and I am really happy for Darron that he got picked and is going.

"Obviously I hope he starts on the bench as he is a very good player. I do hope we beat them but it is a difficult game. We have played them six times I think and only won once."