Bilic calls up uncapped Croatia pair for qualifiers

September 29, 2008

ZAGREB, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has included uncapped midfielder Ivo Ilicevic and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic in a 23-man squad for next month's 2010 World Cup Group Six qualifiers against Ukraine and Andorra.

Croatia play away against Ukraine on Oct. 11 and host Andorra four days later.

Bilic said the 21-year-old Ilicevic, who plays for Greuther Fuerth in the German second division, had been pressing for a call up.

"Ilicevic has undoubtedly been one of the main players in our under-21 team in the last few years," Bilic said on Monday.

Hajduk Split keeper Subasic, 23, has been in good form for his club this season.

Bilic said the Ukraine game had become a key qualifier following the humiliating 4-1 defeat at home by England earlier this month.

"The game in Ukraine is particularly important as Ukraine are our direct rivals for qualifying. The defeat against England has somewhat upset us but we are not giving up our goal to qualify," Bilic told reporters.

Croatia, who have three points from two games, will be without defender Robert Kovac for both games. Kovac is suspended after his sending off against England.

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Spartak Moscow), Vedran Runje (RC Lens), Danijel Subasic (Hajduk Split)

Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Tottenham), Josip Simunic (Hertha Berlin), Dario Knezevic (Juventus), Hrvoje Vejic (Tom Tomsk), Ivica Krizanac (Zenit St. Petersburg), Dino Drpic (Dinamo Zagreb)

Midfielders: Danijel Pranjic (Heerenveen), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Niko Kovac (Salzburg), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Jerko Leko (AS Monaco), Ivan Rakitic (Schalke 04), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Nikola Pokrivac (AS Monaco), Ivo Ilicevic (Greuther Fuerth)

Forwards: Mladen Petric (Hamburg SV), Ivica Olic (Hamburg SV), Ivan Klasnic (Nantes), Nikola Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Mario Mandzukic (Dinamo Zagreb)