Rukavina earns maiden Croatia call
Posted March 12, 2007on:
Precocious striker Ante Rukavina looks set to continue a memorable breakthrough season after being named in Slaven Bilić’s 24-man Croatia squad for the UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifier against F.Y.R. Macedonia on 24 March.
Having scored eight goals in the first half of the campaign, the 20-year-old Rukavina secured a move from HNK Šibenik to HNK Hajduk Split during the winter. He is now in line for a first taste of senior international football, and Bilić explained: “From now on we will call one talented player for each game; those we think will be international players in the future.”
The theory is that Rukavina could benefit from spending time with players at the other end of the experience spectrum, such as Juventus defender Robert Kovač, who has 62 caps and is included in the party despite being ruled out with injury as Bilić looks to maintain a settled party. Unbeaten in Group E, Croatia top the section by two points after four games, though their coach is not taking F.Y.R. Macedonia lightly, saying: “We are clear favourites and there’s no escaping that, but Macedonia are strong and we cannot be complacent.”
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Vedran Runje (Beşiktaş JK), Mario Galinović (Panathinaikos FC).
Defenders: Dario Šimić (AC Milan), Robert Kovač (Juventus), Josip Šimunić (Hertha BSC Berlin), Hrvoje Vejić (FC Tom Tomsk), Vedran Ćorluka (NK Dinamo Zagreb), Boris Živković (HNK Hajduk Split).
Midfielders: Niko Kovač (FC Salzburg), Jerko Leko (AS Monaco FC), Marko Babić (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Darijo Srna (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Milan Rapaić (R. Standard de Liège), Niko Kranjčar (Portsmouth FC), Luka Modrić (NK Dinamo Zagreb), Jurica Vranješ (Werder Bremen), Danijel Pranjić (SC Heerenveen).
Forwards: Mladen Petrić (FC Basel 1893), Ivica Olić (PFC CSKA Moskva), Boško Balaban (Club Brugge KV), Eduardo da Silva (NK Dinamo Zagreb), Igor Budan (Parma FC), Ante Rukavina (HNK Hajduk Split).
by Euro2008.com Posted by Denis