Champions will bring out the best in us, says Kranjcar

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Croatia head into today's opening Group F match against the world champions Brazil with every player fit.

"We're fit, we're motivated and we're ready to go," their coach Zlatko Kranjcar said yesterday after the team's final training session at Berlin's Olympic Stadium. "It's an impressive stadium and it should bring out the best in my players."

The main worry for Kranjcar is with CSKA Moscow's Ivica Olic, who has a thigh strain. However, the fleet-footed striker has managed to convince team doctors that he has overcome his injury and is fit enough to be relied on for 90 minutes. Kranjcar said Olic was likely to come on in the second half to add some zest to the Croatia attack.

Kranjcar had some scares earlier in the week with eight players having to sit out training.

The Croats had a hectic schedule of warm-up matches coming into the World Cup, playing Austria, Iran, Poland and Spain in a two-week period.

The players also had a bout of mild food poisoning that left virtually the whole team physically depleted.