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Bilić warns of tough Sarajevo test

Published: Wednesday 8 August 2007, 20.18CET
Having named a 22-man squad, Slaven Bilić believes the 22 August friendly in Bosnia-Herzegovina will serve as perfect preparation for Croatia's EURO run-in.
by Elvir Islamović
from Zagreb
Published: Wednesday 8 August 2007, 20.18CET

Bilić warns of tough Sarajevo test

Having named a 22-man squad, Slaven Bilić believes the 22 August friendly in Bosnia-Herzegovina will serve as perfect preparation for Croatia's EURO run-in.

The Croatia coach Slaven Bilić has named a 22-man squad including one newcomer for the friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo on 22 August.

Two out
Portsmouth FC midfielder Niko Kranjčar misses out with an ankle injury, and Milan Rapaić has been omitted as he is without a club. "I've spoken to Milan and told him that I will count on him in future but until he finds a new club he will not be in my squads," said Bilić, who has responded by calling in Ivan Rakitić. The FC Schalke 04 midfielder has elected to represent Croatia over Switzerland but is still awaiting clearance to play, however.

Unbeaten
Croatia are eager for a good performance before they return to UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying. They are unbeaten in Group E after seven matches and have posted 17 points, the same tally as an Israel team who have played a game more and two clear of Russia. "We're ready for the next phase of qualifying," Bilić continued. "The new season is just beginning and it's stupid to think that success will come easily. In Sarajevo we'll be playing a team who've had some good results in a difficult group and they will be very strong on their home pitch." Bosnia-Herzegovina are in second place in Group C.

Croatia squad
Goalkeepers:
Stipe Pletikosa (FC Spartak Moskva), Vedran Runje (Beşiktaş JK).

Defenders: Dario Šimić (AC Milan), Robert Kovač (BV Borussia Dortmund), Josip Šimunić (Hertha BSC Berlin), Hrvoje Vejić (FC Tom Tomsk), Vedran Ćorluka (Manchester City FC), Dino Drpić (NK Dinamo Zagreb), Dario Kenežević (AS Livorno Calcio).

Midfielders: Niko Kovač (FC Salzburg), Jerko Leko (AS Monaco FC), Marko Babić (Real Betis Balompié), Darijo Srna (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Luka Modrić (NK Dinamo Zagreb), Jurica Vranješ (Werder Bremen), Danijel Pranjić (SC Heerenveen).

Forwards: Mladen Petrić (BV Borussia Dortmund), Ivica Olić (Hamburger SV), Boško Balaban (NK Dinamo Zagreb), Eduardo da Silva (Arsenal FC), Igor Budan (Parma FC), Ivan Rakitić (FC Schalke 04).

Last updated: 08/08/07 13.38CET

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