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Tootle's 'slug' goal celebration

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Croatia sack Kranjcar for World Cup failure

ZAGREB, July 14 (Reuters) - Zlatko Kranjcar was sacked as Croatia's coach on Friday following a disappointing early exit at the World Cup finals in Germany, the state radio reported.

The national association's (HNS) 19-member executive committee voted unanimously to replace Kranjcar, the report said, adding that a new coach would be named in a week.

An HNS source told Reuters the FA was looking at a foreigner as a possible replacement.

The new coach will lead Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers against England, Russia, Macedonia, Israel and Andorra.

Kranjcar, 49, took over in 2004 and enjoyed an excellent World Cup qualifying campaign, leading Croatia to the top of their group, ahead of Sweden and Bulgaria.

Before the World Cup finals, Kranjcar voiced confidence his squad should progress from its group, which included Brazil, Australia and Japan, but he failed to post a single victory.

Although Croatia displayed little spark and scored only two goals in three games, Kranjcar insisted they had been physically and tactically well prepared and refused to take any blame for the failure saying "we just weren't fortunate".

He had also engaged in a war of words with the media, which accused him of favouring his son Niko as the team's playmaker, despite his poor form.