IRELAND’S GROUP C opponents Croatia have named a preliminary squad for Euro 2012.
Manager Slaven Bilic announced a list of 27 players at a press conference today with established internationals Ivan Klasnic, of Bolton Wanderers, and Hamburg’s Mladen Petric both failing to make the grade.
32-year-old Klasnic was part of the squads which made the Euro 2004 and 2008 finals but misses out, having scored eight times for the Trotters during a season which could yet end in relegation.
And Bilic, who also announced that he will be stepping down after the summer’s tournament, admitted that the omissions of the two strikers was a hard call to make.
“It was difficult because they are two exceptional men, I called them on the phone to tell them,” he said, according to Sky Sports.
“We have quite a good squad, our results talk for themselves, now we have to prepare as good as we can.
I would say we are better than in 2008, when we went to the quarter-finals – back then we wanted to win the Euros, and this time around we want to do the same thing.”
Spurs midfielder Niko Kranjcar has been named alongside club-mate Luka Modric despite being currently sidelined with a knee injury and there are also places for Everton’s Nikica Jelavic and Brazilian-born Eduardo, formerly of Arsenal.
Ireland face Croatia in their opening Euro 2012 fixture on June 10.
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Ivan Kelava (Dinamo Zagreb), Goran Blazevic (Hajduk Split).
Defenders: Domogoj Vida (Dinamo Zagreb), Vedran Corluka (Bayer Leverkusen), Josip Simunic (Dinamo Zagreb), Dejan Lovren (Lyon), Sime Vrsaljko (Dinamo Zagreb), Gordon Schildenfeld (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ivan Strinic (Dnipro), Danijel Pranjic (Bayern Munich), Jurica Buljat (Maccabi Haifa).
Midfielders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Tomislav Dujmovic (Real Zaragoza), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Ivan Perisic (Borussia Dortmund), Niko Kranjcar (Tottenham), Milan Badelj (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivo Ilicevic (Hamburg).
Forwards: Ivica Olic (Bayern Munich), Nikica Jelavic (Everton), Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikola Kalinic (Dnipro).