Croatia Coach - Slaven Bilic
Slaven Bilic began his coaching career in 2002 at his hometown club and team where he first made a name for himself, HNK Hajduk Split. He had returned to Croatia after playing abroad for several years and was appointed Croatia's Under-21 coach in the summer of 2004, with the team topping their group for the European Under-21 Championship of 2006.
His playing career began in defence at Hajduk where he spent six years before heading off to the Bundesliga and Karlsruher SC in 1993. In January 1996 the English Premier League beckoned with a move to West Ham where his subsequent good form earned him a spot in the Croatian national team’s squad for Euro '96 in England, where the team managed to reach the quarter-finals. Everton made a bid for him in March 1997 but Bilić’ loyalty meant he would not contemplate leaving West Ham until they ensured their Premier League status.
His greatest achievement after being capped 44 times by his country came in the World Cup Finals of 1998 where he assisted Croatia to finishing third in their first ever appearance at the finals.
With Croatia topping their group in qualifying for the Euro 2008 finals, Slaven Bilić has more than repaid the football federation of Croatia for their decision to appoint him as the national team coach in 2006 at the tender age of 37.
Tags: Slaven Bilic, Croatia, Euro 2008