Date: 21st June 2008 at 7:02pm
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A disappointed Slaven Bilic rued the unavailability of Eduardo to the Croatian team after their late dismissal in a penalty shoot out against Turkey. Having already described the loss as a ‘handicap` prior to the tournament, reflecting on yesterdays game he said I’ve already mentioned this but I would have liked Eduardo to be in the squad for the tournament. Sometimes we lacked bite in attack. Without him, we had problems in finishing.

The Brazilian born striker had notched up 13 goals in 22 international games for Croatia following an equally impressive 8 in 12 for the country`s under 21 side. Eduardo had contributed enormously to getting them through the qualifying rounds to the competition finals. He was the architect for the second goal which helped knock England out as Croatia triumphed 3-2 securing their qualification. Bilic had also said that the team had even felt his absence in training, as he is very popular amongst all the players. We feel it all the time because we consider him one of the best strikers in the world. he said at the time.

Eduardo`s recovery from a career threatening broken leg is ahead of schedule and it`s believed that he will recommence training at Arsenal possibly as early as late July according to some reports. With the absence of van Persie in the second half of last season the Crozillian striker had notched up 12 goals and 10 assists in 22 starts for Arsenal prior to his injury in late February. Croatia weren`t alone in regretting his loss.