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Confident Croatia ease past Estonia

Croatia 3-1 Estonia
Vedran Ćorluka and Nikola Kalinić struck in the opening 20 minutes as Slaven Bilić's experimental side impressed in Pula.

Croatia celebrate during their 3-1 victory against Estonia
Croatia celebrate during their 3-1 victory against Estonia ©AFP

Croatia provided a perfect send-off for their home fans with a comfortable 3-1 victory against Estonia at a full Aldo Drosina Stadium in Pula.

Vedran Ćorluka and Nikola Kalinić put the hosts two ahead after 20 minutes and Ognjen Vukojević added a late third before the visitors struck a consolation through Konstantin Vassiljev.

Slaven Bilić announced yesterday it would be a squad full of surprises for the match, and he was true to his word as the Croatia coach offered the chance for a number of players to illustrate their worth before making his final cut.

Croatia required barely a quarter of an hour to confirm their domination as Ćorluka scored from close range after Estonia failed to deal with a right-wing cross. Four minutes later it was 2-0 courtesy of a flowing move that demonstrated the increasing confidence of Bilić's charges. Eduardo's back-heel released Ivan Perišić on the left side and his incisive pass found Nikola Kalinić, who finished with aplomb.

Croatia continued to attack in the second half but had to wait until the 81st minute to further their advantage. Two substitutes combined for the goal, Ognjen Vukojević receiving a sublime pass from Šime Vrsaljko before firing in. Vassiljev prised a consolation for Estonia from a free-kick moments later but by then Croatia had already displayed a strength in depth to their squad that offers promise.

Bilić's men travel to Bad Tatzmannsdorf in Austria tomorrow for their final week of preparations for the finals. On 2 June they play a friendly against Norway in Oslo before heading to Poland for their opening UEFA EURO 2012 Group C match against the Republic of Ireland in Poznan on 10 June.