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Croatia's Bilic picks young stars
May 6th, 2008 6:45AM



Slaven Bilic, who extended on Monday his contract as Croatia coach through 2010, named a 23-player squad for Euro 2008 that included a pair of 20-year-olds, Nikola Kalinic and Ivan Rakitic, and 22-year-old Luka Modric, who is headed to English club Tottenham next season.

"Two years ago, it was a brave decision to put us at the helm and we have decided to stay on because we have a lot of confidence in this youthful team," Bilic said. "There is absolutely no pressure but our primary objective is to get past the group stage at Euro 2008."

Croatia opens against co-host Austria in Vienna on June 8 and plays its remaining Group B matches in Klagenfurt against Germany on June 12 and Poland four days later.

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Spartak Moscow, Russia), Vedran Runje (Lens, France), Mario Galinovic (Panathinaikos, Greece)
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Manchester City, England), Dario Simic (AC Milan, Tottenham), Robert Kovac (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Josip Simunic (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Dario Knezevic (Livorno, Italy), Hrvoje Vejic (Tom Tomsk)
Midfielders: Danijel Pranjic (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine), Niko Kovac (Salzburg, Austria), Luka Modric (Dinamo Zagreb), Niko Kranjcar (Portsmouth, England), Jerko Leko (Monaco, France), Ivan Rakitic (Schalke 04), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dinamo Zagreb), Nikola Pokrivac (Monaco, France)
Forwards: Mladen Petric (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Ivica Olic (Hamburg, Germany), Ivan Klasnic (Werder Bremen, Germany), Igor Budan (Parma), Nikola Kalinic (Hajduk Split)

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