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Match facts: Ireland v Croatia

Published: Thursday 7 June 2012, 1.50CET
Match facts: Ireland v Croatia
Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni oversees training Gdynia ©AFP
Published: Thursday 7 June 2012, 1.50CET

Match facts: Ireland v Croatia


• The Republic of Ireland are 14 matches unbeaten, a run stretching back to a 3-2 loss to Uruguay on 29/03/2011.

• At 73 years and 85 days, Giovanni Trapattoni will become the oldest coach to grace a UEFA European Championship against Croatia, breaking the record of Otto Barić (71yrs, 2 days), Croatia's coach in 2004.

• James McClean is yet to play a competitive fixture for the Ireland.

• Damien Duff has won 97 caps and is set to become Ireland's fifth centurion after Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Kevin Kilbane and Steve Staunton.

Injury news
• Given (knee) and John O'Shea (ankle) missed the Bosnia and Herzegovina friendly as a precaution but returned to training on 31/05 and started against Hungary on 04/06.

• Trapattoni made two changes to his provisional 23-man squad, defender Kevin Foley and midfielder Keith Fahey making way for Paul McShane and Paul Green, respectively.

• Ireland's official UEFA EURO 2012 song is a modern twist on the folk song Rocky Road To Dublin. Fresh lyrics were submitted by listeners to a radio station and Irish folk singer Damien Dempsey and rock band The Coronas recorded a new version, Rocky Road To Poland, with the squad providing backing vocals.

• The squad convened at their training camp in Dublin on 20/05, with Keane (arriving from Los Angeles) and Glenn Whelan (who got married on 19/05) joining up a day later. The squad spent a week in Montecatini, Tuscany, and played Hungary in Budapest before arriving in Sopot on 05/06.

• Green is without a club for next season after parting company with Derby County FC while Darren O'Dea is set to leave Celtic FC next month when his contract expires.

• There are four survivors of Ireland's last squad at a major international final tournament, the 2002 FIFA World Cup: Given, Keane, Duff and Richard Dunne, though Dunne did not play in South Korea/Japan.

• None of Ireland's 2002 World Cup squad had ever played top-flight football in Ireland – five of the UEFA EURO 2012 party have: Stephen Ward, Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, McClean and David Forde.

• None of the Irish squad have UEFA European Championship experience, but Keane and Dunne were in the side that won the 1998 UEFA European Under-18 Championship, the same year O'Shea lifted the U16 equivalent.

Pre-tournament friendlies
04/06 Hungary 0-0 Republic of Ireland
Given (Westwood 46); O'Shea, St Ledger, Dunne, Ward; Duff (Hunt 63), Andrews (Gibson 66), Whelan (Green 85), McGeady; Keane (Cox 61), Doyle (Walters 46).

26/05 Republic of Ireland 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina (Long 78)
Westwood; McShane (Kelly 79), Dunne (St Ledger 70), O'Dea, Ward; Duff (McGeady 46), Gibson, Whelan (Andrews 46), McClean; Keane (Long 63), Doyle (Walters 63).

UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying
• Keane scored seven goals in qualifying as he passed a half-century of international goals. He is now on 53.

• Trapattoni's side went a national record eight matches without conceding between the 3-2 friendly defeat at home by Uruguay in 29/03/2011 and a 2-1 win at home to Armenia on 11/10/2011.

• Aiden McGeady was Ireland's only ever-present in qualifying.

Domestic information
• Ward played every minute of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC's English Premier League campaign as the side finished bottom of the table. Club-mates Doyle and Stephen Hunt also suffered relegation.

• Four members of the squad played for English second-tier sides last season: Forde (Millwall FC), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City FC), McShane (Hull City AFC) and Green (Derby).

• Keane helped the LA Galaxy claim the MLS title in November. He had a seven-game spell with England's Aston Villa FC at the beginning of the year before returning to the United States in March for the start of the new season.


• Croatia have won just one of their last four games.

• Josip Šimunić has 95 caps for Croatia and is approaching Dario Šimić's national record of 100.

• Goalkeepers Danijel Subašić and Ivan Kelava, and defender Jurica Buljat are yet to make a competitive appearance for Croatia. Subašić and Buljat have won friendly caps, though.

Injury news
• Ivica Olić was ruled out of the squad after tearing his hamstring in Norway on 02/06 and replaced by Nikola Kalinić.

• Ivo Iličević was ruled out on the eve of the finals with a ruptured calf muscle and replaced by Šime Vrsaljko.

• Dejan Lovren was named in Croatia's provisional squad but was left out of the final 23 after failing to recover from an Achilles problem.

• Slaven Bilić announced last month that he will step down as Croatia coach after UEFA EURO 2012 to take the reins at FC Lokomotiv Moskva.

• There are ten survivors of Croatia's UEFA EURO 2008 squad: Stipe Pletikosa, Vedran Ćorluka, Danijel Pranjić, Šimunić, Darijo Srna, Niko Kranjčar, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ognjen Vukojević and Kalinić.

• This will be the third UEFA European Championship for Srna and Šimunić, equalling a national record set by Šimić.

• The squad began gathering in Zagreb on 16/05, and were complete seven days later when FC Bayern München's Pranjić arrived after the UEFA Champions League final. They moved to their EURO base in Warka on 05/06.

• Croatia have scored four goals in each of the EURO group stages they have participated in, in 1996, 2004 and 2008.

Pre-tournament friendlies
02/06 Norway 1-1 Croatia (Elyounoussi 90+1; Eduardo 79)
Pletikosa; Srna, Šimunić, Schildenfeld, Vida; Strinić (Vukojević 46), Rakitić, Perišić (Kranjčar 63), Dujmović (Pranjić 46); Jelavić (Olić 46; Iličević 71), Mandžukić (Eduardo 63).

25/05 Croatia 3-1 Estonia (Ćorluka 16, Kalinić 20, Vukojević 81; Vassiljev 83)
Subašić; Vida, Ćorluka (Vrsaljko 80), Schildenfeld (Šimunić 46), Strinić; Iličević (Rakitić 60), Dujmović (Vukojević 46), Badelj, Perišić (Kranjčar 46); Kalinić, Eduardo (Mandžukić 60).

UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying
• With Group F leaders Greece trailing 1-0 to Georgia on the final day, Croatia were 11 minutes from automatic qualification before goals from Giorgos Fotakis and Angelos Charisteas turned things round.

• Olić broke the deadlock two minutes into the play-off with Turkey in what was his first competitive start in 13 months.

• Kranjčar was Croatia's top scorer in qualifying with four goals.

• Ćorluka and Eduardo played 11 of Croatia's 12 qualifiers, play-offs included.

• Croatia kept six clean sheets in 12 matches, with Vedran Runje and Pletikosa each keeping three from six.

Domestic information
• Kelava, Domagoj Vida, Šimunić, Milan Badelj and Vrsaljko played key roles as GNK Dinamo Zagreb claimed a seventh successive Croatian championship.

• Kelava saved a crucial penalty six minutes from time in the second leg of the Croatian Cup final as Dinamo edged out NK Osijek 2-1 on aggregate.

• The youngest player in the Croatia squad, 20-year-old Vrsaljko has already collected five trophies with Dinamo Zagreb: three championships and two cups.

• Ivan Perišić was part of the Borussia Dortmund squad that claimed their first domestic double, beating Bayern 5-2 in the German Cup final on 12/05.

• Gordon Schildenfeld missed just one game as Eintracht Frankfurt finished runners-up in the second tier to secure promotion to the Bundesliga.

• Nikica Jelavić scored nine goals in ten league starts after swapping Rangers FC for Everton FC in January.

• Srna and Eduardo were in the FC Shakhtar Donetsk squad that claimed the domestic double in Ukraine.

• On 6 June FC Dynamo Kyiv confirmed the signing of Kranjčar on a four-year contract.

Last updated: 08/06/12 18.28CET

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