The Brazilian born striker had been the spearhead of a stylish, counter attacking 4 1 3 2 system that bore little comparison to the strong arm tactics employed in the last three major tournaments, all of which saw Croatia sent home after the group stages.
pay off to leave Everton and return to Hajduk and he eventually retired in 2001, taking up the U21 reins a few years later.
However, those ambitions were significantly tempered in February when Eduardo, who had netted 10 goals in 12 games in Group E, suffered a horrific leg injury while playing for Arsenal.
Guide to Croatia
Vedran 'Charlie' Corluka has quickly become a crowd favourite at Manchester City, while Converse Flip Flops Womens
In any case, most Croatian fans believe the current crop are best placed to bear fruit at World Cup 2010 so would probably be happy with a brave quarter final exit but failure to get out of the group would be hugely Converse Metallic dispiriting.
Bilic made his name as a sturdy centre back with local club Hajduk Split and was a part of the very first Croatian squad formed following independence from Yugoslavia in 1990.
There are also major doubts surrounding the form and fitness of skipper and midfield lynchpin Niko Kovac, who at 36 is bound to find the step up from the Austrian Bundesliga a real test.
From his position in central midfield, Modric dictates the tempo and pulls the strings but he will only be truly effective if one of the strikers finishes off the chances he is sure to create. His second season at Fratton Park culminated in an FA Cup final triumph at Wembley and saw him linked with a big money move to Arsenal.
He moved to Karlsruhe before being snapped up by West Ham for 1.3million in January 1996 and after a good showing at Euro 96, he joined Everton the following summer for 4.5million.
Craft and guile from the midfield is a given with Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar in tandem, but an ageing defence and the lack of a consistent goalscorer could curb Croatia's challenge in Austria and Switzerland.
They will also be cheered on by one of the most passionate, noisy and colourful sets of supporters, who are expected to travel north in vast numbers.
With his stud earring and punk rock passions his band Rawbau's song Vatreno Ludilo (Blazing Madness) is the official Croatia anthem for Euro 2008 Bilic comes across as something of a rebel, but he is actually a deep football thinker and methodical in his Black And White Leather Converse High Tops
Wigan has been touted as a possible destination for out of contract Werder Bremen striker Ivan Klasnic.
North of the border, defensive midfielder Ognjen Vukojevic has been a long term target for Celtic.
Back problems eventually led to Bilic taking a huge Converse High Tops Womens Sale
Injury and suspensions blighted his stay at Goodison Park but he was an integral part of the Croatia squad that won bronze medals at France 98, even though he lost respect for his feigned injury against the hosts in Paris which led to Laurent Blanc being banned for the World Cup final.
He ditched the team's traditional back three but refused to sacrifice a playmaker and successfully hit upon a system that makes full use of talented schemers like Modric and Kranjcar. Star man Luka ModricIn the absence of Eduardo, Luka Modric is seen as integral to Croatia's hopes of progressing to the latter stages of the tournament.
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