Wednesday, May 28, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Croatia Team Preview

The squad: Croatia looked sharp in qualifying, topping a difficult Group E that included Russia, England and Israel. Despite having already qualified, a 3-2 win at Wembely over England in their final match was their most impressive result. The Croats have not made a deep run in a tournament since finishing third at the 1998 World Cup.

The players: Croatia suffered a major blow when Eduardo da Silva, the team's top scorer, broke his leg during a Premier League game with Arsenal. Without Eduardo, the pressure to provide goals falls on the attacking trio of Hamburg's Ivica Olic, Werder Bremen's Ivan Klasnic and Parma's Igor Budan. Veteran goalie Stipe Pletikosa tends the net.

The schedule: vs. Austria (6/8); vs. Germany (6/12); vs. Poland (6/16)

The prediction: The Croats are the pick to finish behind Germany in Group B. A quarterfinal date with Portugal will end their run.

No comments: