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Croatia name full-strength squad for England clash

SoccerNews in English Premier League, World Cup 24 Aug 2009

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Coach Slaven Bilic named a full-strength Croatia squad on Monday for upcoming World Cup 2010 qualifiers against Belarus and England early next month.

Croatia face Belarus at home on September 5 before travelling to London for a showdown with England four days later.

Bilic’s 24-man squad features several players from the English Premier League including the in-form Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric and Brazil-born Arsenal striker Eduardo Da Silva.

The only player missing is defender Robert Kovac due to an injury. The Dinamo Zagreb veteran was not expected to make the starting line-up for the two qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

After seven matches, Croatia sit second in World Cup qualifying Group Six on 14 points, seven behind leaders England.

They suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat in the reverse leg at home in September 2008 but have since bounced back.

Bilic refused to comment on the England match, opting to only talk about the game against Belarus whom Croatia overcame 3-1 away in Minsk earlier this month.

“The impressions are still fresh from the match in Minsk where we re-entered the race to participate in the World Cup,” Bilic was quoted as saying by HINA news agency.

“There are now three qualifying matches and maybe two more (standing between Croatia and the World Cup) but for us the most important one now is against Belarus… which we must win.”

Croatia’s final World Cup group qualifier is against Kazakhstan on October 14.

Croatia squad:

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Spartak Moscow/RUS), Vedran Runje (Lens/FRA), Danijel Subasic (Hajduk Split/CRO)

Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Tottenham/ENG), Hrvoje Vejic (Hajduk Split/CRO), Dino Drpic (Karlsruhe/GER), Ivica Krizanac (Zenit Saint Petersburg/RUS), Josip Simunic (Hoffenheim/GER), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Hrvoje Cale (Trabzonspor/TUR)

Midfielders: Nikola Pokrivac (Red Bull Salzburg/AUS), Ivan Juric (Genoa/ITA), Ognejn Vukojevic (Dinamo Kiev/UKR), Jerko Leko (unlisted), Ivan Rakitic (Schalke 04/GER), Danijel Pranjic (Bayern Munich/GER), Niko Kranjcar (Portsmouth/ENG), Luka Modric (Tottenham/ENG)

Strikers: Anas Sharbini (Hajduk Split/CRO), Mladen Petric (Hamburg/GER), Ivica Olic (Bayern Munich/GER), Eduardo Da Silva (Arsenal/ENG), Mario Mandzukic (Dinamo Zagreb/CRO), Ivan Klasnic (Nantes/FRA)

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