Euro 2008

Bilic hoping stars will shine

Croatia boss worried by lack of cutting edge

Bilic: Concerns

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Slaven Bilic insists his playmakers must perform if Croatia are to make an impact at Euro 2008.

England's conquerors in qualifying face Germany, Poland and Austria in a tricky looking Group B, and their manager knows that they need to provide more of an attacking threat than they have of late if they are to reach the last eight.

Without the injured Eduardo, Croatia have looked toothless up front in recent friendlies, a situation which is causing concern for Bilic.

He accepts that the absence of the Arsenal striker has come as a major blow, but is hoping that Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar and Mladen Petric can provide the attacking spark needed to fire the Croats to glory.

Magicians

"Our top three players should be 100 per cent inspired throughout the tournament and the rest of the team will have to be at their best too if we are to progress from our group," said the former West Ham and Everton defender.

"We won't reach the quarter-finals just by keeping it tight at the back.

"We need our three magicians Modric, Kranjcar and Petric to make things happen.

"These strikers are the best we have, not including Eduardo da Silva, whose absence is obviously a severe blow because the whole team played better when he was with us.

Faith

"However, he didn't take us to Euro 2008 on his own and we must make do without him.

"I've faith in the players who are here and we are convinced they will start firing on all cylinders at a crunch time.

"They are top-level strikers who score regularly for their clubs so it's not time to sound alarm bells, but we have to improve."

Aggressive

Croatia stumbled their way to an unimpressive 1-0 win against Moldova last week, while they were held to a 1-1 draw by Hungary on Saturday.

Bilic admits that performances need to improve dramatically, but is confident that his team will be ready by the time they take to the field against co-hosts Austria on Sunday.

"We have been a threat to our rivals far too rarely, we have to be more aggressive," he said.

"We defend as a team and we have to attack as a team too, meaning that our midfield must carve out more supply routes to the strikers."