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Bilić reduces Croatia squad to final 23

Slaven Bilić has reduced his Croatia squad to 23 for UEFA EURO 2012, saying: "I told four players that they can go home but I also told them to be ready to come if there are any injuries."

Croatia coach Slaven Bilić has announced his final squad for UEFA EURO 2012
Croatia coach Slaven Bilić has announced his final squad for UEFA EURO 2012 ©Getty Images

Goran Blažević, Šime Vrsljako, Nikola Kalinić and Dejan Lovren were all omitted as Slaven Bilić made the final cuts to his Croatia squad for UEFA EURO 2012.

Fourth-choice goalkeeper Blažević and forward Kalinić were not expected to be in the final selection, but more unexpected was Bilić's decision to select Jurica Buljat ahead of young right-back Vrsaljko. Lovren, meanwhile, is still struggling with injury. "I told four players that they can go home but I also told them to be ready to come if there are any injuries," said Bilić. "Lovren's medical tests were not good so without him we were down to three central defenders, and I decided to keep Jurica Buljat in the team as a result."

Having initially selected a 27-man squad, Bilić's trimmed down selection will take on Norway on Saturday 2 June in their final friendly before opening their UEFA EURO 2012 Group C campaign against the Republic of Ireland in Poznan on 10 June.

Croatia squad
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (FC Rostov), Ivan Kelava (GNK Dinamo Zagreb), Danijel Subašić (AS Monaco FC).

Defenders: Jurica Buljat (Maccabi Haifa FC), Vedran Ćorluka (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Danijel Pranjić (FC Bayern München), Gordon Schildenfeld (Eintracht Frankfurt), Josip Šimunić (GNK Dinamo Zagreb), Darijo Srna (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Ivan Strinić (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Domagoj Vida (GNK Dinamo Zagreb).

Midfielders: Milan Badelj (GNK Dinamo Zagreb), Tomislav Dujmović (FC Dinamo Moskva), Ivo Iličević (Hamburger SV), Niko Kranjčar (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Luka Modrić (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Ivan Perišić (Borussia Dortmund), Ivan Rakitić (Sevilla FC), Ognjen Vukojević (FC Dynamo Kyiv).

Forwards: Eduardo (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavić (Everton FC), Mario Mandžukić (VfL Wolfsburg), Ivica Olić (VfL Wolfsburg).