The Croats are one of the teams who had to go through a play-off to reach the 2012 finals. They managed to beat Turkey 3-0 on aggregate. They are a more recent nation, only being formed in the early 1990’s, since they have managed to reach the Quarter-Finals of the 2008 Euro, and currently lie 12th in the FIFA Rankings, with a highest position of 3rd in 1999. Teams will probably favour a draw against Croatia, but they do have players capable of winning games.
Luka Modrić: Honestly, could we start anywhere else? I think not. The Tottenham Midfielder was the subject of intense transfer speculation during the summer, with some reports suggesting Chelsea put in up to £35,000,000 for the gifted playmaker. At 26 he already has over 50 Capps for Croatia, scoring 8 times. In recent seasons he has formed notable partnerships with fellow Croats Niko Kranjčar and Vedran Ćorluka at Tottenham, as well as being recognised as one of the finest Midfielders in world football. The former Dinamo Zagreb man impressed at the last Euro, he even managed to become the second Croatian player ever to enter the Team Of The Tournament. Slaven Bilić is clearly going to take Luka to the finals, where we all think he will show us once more why he is rated so highly.Josip Šimunić: The former Hoffenheim Defender has been a rock in the Croatian Defence for almost 10 years now, with 92 Capps to his name, Josip is one of the most experienced players available for manager Bilić, he is the second most capped player for the Crpats just behind Dario Šimić. Aged 33 he has made the orthodox move and went to Dinamo Zagreb, of whom most start their career with. Regardless everyone who has ever seen him play knows he is the real deal, and after forming a partnership with Lyon Defender Dejan Lovren and current team mate Leko, there is no doubt that he will be vital to any success that Croatia enjoys at the Euros.
Eduardo: Currently playing in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk, the Brazilian born Striker has something to prove. The former Gunner has represented Croatia a total of 44 times, scoring a total of 22 goals since (The equivalent of 1 goal every other game) Sadly many thought his career was over after he broke his left fibula in 2008 against Birmingham, it took almost 1 year for him to play a game for Arsenal again, and he did in style, scoring a penalty, yet again however, he was injured, ever since little things have popped up which has damaged what looked like a magnificent career. Thankfully he seems to be getting past it, managing to play more than 30 games for Shakhtar since joining. He isn’t a certainty in the squad, but he will be fighting for a spot, and if he gets it, he can do damage.
Honourable Mentions: Ivica Olić, Mario Mandžukić, Vedran Ćorluka, Stipe Pletikosa, Danijel Pranjić, Ivan Rakitić & Darijo Srna.
Even with the decent squad that Croatia have it will be difficult for them to qualify out of their group but it will be possible. If they can manage to win in the opener against Ireland then they have every chance of qualifying with it a bit unknown how well Italy will be. To know for sure we will just have to wait until June to watch the Euros.
Liverpool and Swansea are thrashing out the final details before an announcement is made confirming Rodgers as the new manager of Liverpool football club.
It will come as a shock announcement to some as Wigan’s Roberto Martinez had been thought to be the front runner for the job, with Rodgers only being seriously considered by the media in the last 24 hours.
The appointment is a bold move from Liverpool’s American owners as Rodgers has only one season managing in England’s top flight to his name. That said, following a successful promotion campaign in the Championship last season Swansea have acquitted themselves well this year and surprised everyone with an 11th place finish.
Expect an announcement from Liverpool FC in the next 24 hours.
Love this, especially the Arsene Wenger one…
This week a shorter podcast sees us reflect on Hodgson’s revealing England squad numbers, chat about SoccerAid and it’s comedy moments and we even manager to crowbar a mention of podcast favourite Danny Dyer.
Roy Hodgson announced the shirt numbers today for his 23 man England squad.
Whilst there are no guarantees, numbers 1 to 11 look very much like Hodgson’s first choice team…
- Joe Hart
- Glen Johnson
- Ashley Cole
- Steven Gerrard
- Gary Cahill
- John Terry
- Theo Walcott
- Frank Lampard
- Andy Carroll
- Wayne Rooney
- Ashley Young
- Leighton Baines
- Robert Green
- Phil Jones
- Joleon Lescott
- James Milner
- Scott Parker
- Phil Jagielka
- Stewart Downing
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
- Jermain Defoe
- Danny Wellbeck
- Jack Butland
Obviously England will be without Wayne Rooney for their first 2 matches of Euro 2012 and it may be a case of shuffling a couple of players to accommodate that rather than just a straight swap. Or could it be that the squad numbers aren’t indicative of the starting XI at all? Joleon Lescott, Scott Parker and Jermain Defoe will be among many others hoping that is the case.
Love him or hate him, Joey Barton is never far from controversy – here’s a look at all his controversial incidents…
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The team are back after a short break to recap on Manchester City’s victory, Chelsea lifting the Champions League and take a look at England’s chances in the Euros.
Borussia Dortmund expect Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa to join Manchester United this summer after he rejected their latest contract offer.Dortmund are reported to want £5-7 million for the 23-year-old but United are still to finalise a decision.
It’s evident that the Red Devils will be looking for a creative midfield player who can score goals especially with the fact that Paul Scholes can not be relied on forever. This summer will undoubtedly see the Old Trafford side dip into the transfer market for a marquee midfielder.
There’s the obvious benefit of marketing potential the Japanese star provides, given the fact he’s a major celebrity in his home country. That’s something United will look to take advantage of just like they have done with Park Ji-Sung, who has made tens of millions for the club across Far East Asia.
It is clear Kagawa will be moving on this summer after declining contract negotiations with Borussia Dortmund and what better club is there to sign for?
After missing last week the pod team return to talk about Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager, Chelsea’s Champions League Heroics and talk about the Premier League title run-in…
Chelsea has come into much criticism lately for the tactics they used to defeat Barcelona. So should they do all they can to win the match no matter how ugly it looks or go out and lose to entertain the fans? Well the last time I checked, Football was a competitive sport right? A game of two sides in which one could ultimately be the victor – progressing exponentially over time, gaining commercial, reputable and prestigious acclaim while it grew; Developing rules, regulations, set matches, teams, fixtures, leagues and so on. But is the basis of the game still not to win? Every club is a business, and sure playing the more attractive football will ultimately win praise and help to obtain more fans, of the game or the club, but why shouldn’t it be acceptable for a team that are aware of their shortcomings in quality and talent to try and put in the extra effort that’s needed and win by defending and hitting on the break?