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02nd Jul 2018

You could cut the tension between Martin O’Neill and Slaven Bilic with a knife on ITV last night

Si Lloyd

Martin O'Neill Slaven Bilic ITV 2018 FIFA World Cup

Look, we’re not suggesting Slaven Bilic and Martin O’Neill aren’t the best of buds here…

Nope, not at all…. It’s just quite a few other folk are.

Both were in the ITV studio for Croatia’s nervy last-16 win over Denmark on Sunday evening.

The game had finished 1-1 after extra-time, Kasper Schmeichel denying Luka Modric’s penalty at the death. The Leicester City goalkeeper was able to pull off a couple more saves in the shoot-out, but it wasn’t enough as Croatia sealed their passage to the quarter-finals and a semi-final with Russia.

Naturally, this was a proud moment for Bilic – an ex-Croatian international and the country’s manager between 2006 and 2012. Speaking afterwards, he set about explaining how much it meant to his nation.

“We are a small country,” he began, only for O’Neill to interrupt.

“You’ve told us that so many times,” the Ireland boss appeared to say before muttering something else.

Bilic replied by acknowledging that Croatia was, in fairness, bigger than Ireland.

“Much bigger,” O’Neill added.

“Better football players,” Bilic added, the laughter of Mark Pougatch and Lee Dixon subsiding slightly…

Here, watch. Although it may not be intentional, it does seem a little tense for a couple of seconds…

And again, while we’re not saying the pair have issues with one another, plenty of people on Twitter were doing exactly that.