Croatia coach Slaven Bilic declared that his players 'don't fear anybody' after they got their Euro 2012 Group C campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win over Ireland in Poznan on Sunday.
Mario Mandzukic, Nikica Jelavic and an own goal from Shay Given sent Croatia to the top of the group after Italy and Spain could only draw 1-1 earlier in the day.
With those two heavyweights to come, both sides knew that an opening game victory was crucial to their hopes of reaching the knock-out stages.
The manner of Croatia's victory certainly bodes well for their future in the tournament and a confident Bilic is in no doubt as to his side's ability.
"We don't fear anybody," said Bilic.
"Maybe they were the better team in some moments but the overall impression is that we were the much better team."
After their failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, Bilic admits it had been a long wait for his side to finally have another crack at a major international tournament.
"I was living for this for two years," he added.
"The players felt this tension for the last two years, they showed they can cope with this tension and pressure, we're strong as a team.
"It was very important that we scored an early goal. They are really good fighters, it wasn't that easy.
"I still can't believe what we just did, it was a fantastic victory. We knew it would be a tough match but we as a team responded excellently."