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Croatia’s Ivo Ilicevic a doubt for Ireland game

6 June 2012 2,580 views No Comment Written by Ronan

After the forced withdrawal of striker Ivica Olic, Croatian boss Slaven Bilic could be without another player for his side’s opening Euro 2012 fixture with Ireland on Sunday as Ivo Ilicevic has a calf problem.

Bilic has refused to rule out Hamburg’s Ilicevic, who is not a likely starter for Croatia, but the 25-year-old midfielder is seen as a decent option from the bench, like he did in the friendly against Ireland last year. “It was a knock in the calf and it’s in a painful spot, but it’s not a serious injury,” Bilic said. “I hope he will be ready for Sunday’s match against Ireland, but we can’t be sure about that.”

Everton striker Nikola Kalinic is likely to start instead of Olic, with the Croatian boss praising his impressive season since signing from Rangers. “His impact was so strong and so sudden that it was quite unbelievable,” Bilic said. “He is one of our biggest assets in this tournament, especially now that we’ve lost Olic.”

The Croatian manager has said that his side are ready for their Group C games, and have a range of options to choose from. Bilic is also planning to go easier on the training pitch ahead of Sunday’s opening game. “We have four training sessions left and each of them is very important,” Bilic said. “We are lowering the intensity of training now, and we will be talking a lot during practice. Thursday’s session will be our most important and we’ll also do some last-minute practice on free-kicks as it’s most useful to work on that as close as possible to matches. That’s the thing that stays in your head for a few days, so it’s good to work on it last.

“I don’t have any headaches. I still have a few options for the team – let’s call them plan A, B and C – and I will pick one of those options one hour before the match. Whichever option I pick I am sure it will be a good one.”

Related posts:

  1. Slaven Bilic announces Croatia Euro 2012 squad
  2. Croatia squad to face Ireland
  3. Trapattoni oversees first Euro 2012 training session
  4. Slovakia captain Marek Hamsik could miss Ireland game
  5. Five senior players out of Italy game

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