This Croatian team plays attacking minded soccer in a 4-4-2 formation, and has the power to create problems for any defense in the world. The experience of the likes of Simunic, Pletikosa, Olic and Srna, combined with the flair and skill of youngsters like Modric, Rakitic, and Jelavic, gives the team good balance. The best part of the team is the midfield, with world-class players like Luka Modric and team captain, Srna, that are the engine of the team, and can be the difference makers in any game. Defensively, Croatia is very solid with experienced Simunic and Corluka, and upcoming youngsters Lovren and Vida. In the attack, a lot of hopes lie with Nikica Jelavic, a new Everton signing that has stolen the headlines in the English Premier League by getting voted the Player of the Month for April.
The toughest game will be against Ireland, because it is the first game of the tournament with arguably the weakest team in the group. All the pressure will be on Croatia to win. I feel this is the key game, and if Croatia comes out victorious it would put a lot of wind in their sails. They would then be a very dangerous opponent for both Spain and Italy. The second game of the tournament is against Italy, and this is where the passenger to the next round will be decided. Undoubtedly Spain will go through as one of the two from Group C, and Croatia and Italy are going to have to fight it off for the remaining spot!
Croatia squad for Euro 2012:
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (FK Rostov), Danijel Subasic (FC Monaco), Ivan Kelava (Dinamo Zagreb), Goran Blazevic (Hajduk Split)
Defenders: Dejan Lovren (Lyon), Vedran Corluka (Tottenham), Josip Simunic (Dinamo Zagreb), Gordon Schildenfeld (Eintracht Frankfurt), Sime Vrsaljko (Dinamo Zagreb), Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Strinic (Dnipro), Jurica Buljat (Maccabi Haifa)
Midfielders: Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kyiv), Tomislav Dujmovic (Dynamo Moscow), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Niko Kranjcar Tottenham), Ivan Perisic (Borussia Dortmund), Danijel Pranjic (Bayern Munich), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Milan Badelj (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivo Ilicevic (HSV)
Forwards: Nikica Jelavic (Everton), Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo Da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk), Ivica Olic (Bayern Munich), Nikola Kalinic (Dnipro)
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