Croatia manager Slaven Bilic left
out injured defender Dejan Lovren and three other players when
naming his 23-man squad for Euro 2012 on Tuesday.
Former Blackburn Rovers striker Nikola Kalinic, now playing
for Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, was deemed surplus to
requirements as were Dinamo Zagreb defender Sime Vrsaljko and
Hajduk Split goalkeeper Goran Blazevic.
"All of them found it a bit hard to come to terms with the
decision and I feel for them but it's an understandable reaction
and they are still in the reckoning in case we suffer injuries,"
Bilic told a news conference.
"Lovren had two weeks to recover and pass a late fitness
test but it was obvious immediately that he was in pain and I
didn't even need a doctor's opinion to cross him out," he said.
The talented Olympique Lyon defender made way for surprise
inclusion Jurica Buljat, who broke into the squad at the expense
of Kalinic after showing good from for his Israeli club Maccabi
Haifa last season.
Kalinic was axed despite scoring in Friday's 3-1 friendly
win over Estonia but good performances in Croatia's penultimate
warm-up enabled reserve midfielders Ivo Ilicevic and Milan
Badelj to earn their places in the squad.
"Kalinic is always an option when we need five forwards but
four can cover the European Championships," said Bilic, who will
step down after Croatia's campaign to take over Russian first
division side Lokomotiv Moscow.
"We need Badelj, Ilicevic and Buljat a lot more for this
tournament, especially the latter two.
"Ilicevic is quick and not afraid to take on defenders,
meaning that he can be a real bonus coming off the bench, while
Buljat has been added as the fourth centre-back because he is
fit and in good form."
Croatia are away to Norway in their final Euro 2012 warm-up
on Saturday. They open their campaign against Ireland on June
10, face Italy on June 14 and clash with Spain four days later.
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (FC Rostov), Danijel Subasic
(AS Monaco), Ivan Kelava (Dinamo Zagreb).
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Tottenham Hotspur), Josip Simunic (Dinamo
Zagreb), Ivan Strinic (Dnipro), Gordon Schildenfeld (Eintracht
Frankfurt), Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Zagreb), Jurica Buljat (Maccabi
Midfielders: Danijel Pranjic (Bayern Munich), Darijo Srna
(Shakhtar Donetsk), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Rakitic
(Sevilla), Tomislav Dujmovic (Zaragoza), Luka Modric
(Tottenham Hotspur), Milan Badelj (Dinamo Zagreb), Niko Kranjcar
(Tottenham Hotspur), Ivan Perisic (Borussia Dortmund), Ivo Ilicevic
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo Da Silva
(Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavic (Everton), Ivica Olic (Bayern
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