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Croatia call up Kalinic for last Euro qualifiers

Cro_Sensation2010-05-10 12:03:21 +0000 #1
ZAGREB, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has called up 19-year-old Hajduk Split forward Nikola Kalinic to his 24-man squad for the final two Euro 2008 qualifiers against Macedonia and England this month.

The uncapped Kalinic, Croatia's top league scorer with 11 goals after 14 rounds, will boost an attack dented by the absence of injured Parma striker Igor Budan and Dinamo Zagreb's Bosko Balaban.

Croatia top Group E with 26 points and a draw against Macedonia on Nov. 17 in Skopje will book a place in next year's finals.

They play second-placed England, who are three points behind, at Wembley on Nov. 21. Russia are third in the group on 21 points with two games remaining.

'We have two very tough away games ahead. We wanted to secure a berth at the Euro 2008 before these games, but it was not meant to be,' Bilic told reporters.

'We have respect for Macedonia and England but I hope our determination and strength to reach the final stage will prevail.'

Monaco midfielder Jerko Leko is banned for the Macedonia tie due, but Bilic will welcome back fit-again captain Niko Kovac of Salzburg.

'I hope we'll have no problems with injuries in the next two weeks and I think my players have already proven we have no reason to fear games in Skopje and London,' he said.

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Spartak Moscow), Vedran Runje (Lens), Mario Galinovic (Panathinaikos)

Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Manchester City), Dario Simic (AC Milan), Robert Kovac (Borussia Dortmund), Josip Simunic (Hertha Berlin), Dario Knezevic (Livorno), Dino Drpic (Dinamo Zagreb), Hrvoje Vejic (Tomsk)

Midfielders: Niko Kovac (Salzburg), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Luka Modric (Dinamo Zagreb), Niko Kranjcar (Portsmouth), Jerko Leko (AS Monaco), Marko Babic (Real Betis), Danijel Pranjic (Heerenveen), Ivan Rakitic (Schalke), Jurica Vranjes (Werder Bremen), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dinamo Zagreb)

Forwards: Eduardo Da Silva (Arsenal), Mladen Petric (Borussia Dortmund), Ivica Olic (Hamburger SV), Nikola Kalinic (Hajduk Split)

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Big deal for a kid who's about to hit 20. Congrats to him, he's a great talent



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