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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Bilic to step down after Euros

Slaven Bilic named his long list of players for Croatia’s Euro 2012 campaign, but also confirmed that the tournament would be his last as coach.

Bilic, who took charge of Croatia after the 2006 World Cup, has decided to focus on other challenges no matter how well the campaign in Ukraine and Poland goes.

“I will conclude my story here after the European Championship,” he said. “I leave a great team that has spent five years in the top ten, a squad that has been rejuvenated and one that could last for a long time.”

 

"This will be my last championship in charge. I've given my best and I thank you all, but the hardest job is still ahead of me.

"I wish my successor all the happiness in the world and hope to leave him some continuity."

Bilic, however, was unwilling to discuss reports linking him with the managerial post at Lokomotiv Moscow.

"I'm sure you never comment on speculation or rumours so I will not comment on the story of Lokomotiv Moscow," he added. "When something happens, I will announce it."

 

Strikers Ivan Klasnic, of Bolton, and Mladen Petric, of Hamburg, are the highest profile players to miss out on the squad. Brazilian-born Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Sammir - who has expressed a desire to represent Croatia - was also left out, along with Croatia Under-21 international Mateo Kovacic.

“I think we have a good team,” Bilic said. “Of our players, 50% have had an optimal season, while 20% are too tired and 30% haven’t played enough.

“That problem is much bigger in qualifying, though. In a tournament like this, they’ll all have three weeks of preparation time and we have to use that wisely.”

Croatia squad

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Ivan Kelava (Dinamo Zagreb), Goran Blazevic (Hajduk Split)

Defenders: Domogoj Vida (Dinamo Zagreb), Vedran Corluka (Bayer Leverkusen), Josip Simunic (Dinamo Zagreb), Dejan Lovren (Lyon), Sime Vrsaljko (Dinamo Zagreb), Gordon Schildenfeld (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ivan Strinic (Dnipro), Danijel Pranjic (Bayern Munich), Jurica Buljat (Maccabi Haifa)

Midfielders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Tomislav Dujmovic (Real Zaragoza), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Ivan Perisic (Borussia Dortmund), Niko Kranjcar (Tottenham), Milan Badelj (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivo Ilicevic (Hamburg)

Forwards:  Ivica Olic (Bayern Munich), Nikica Jelavic (Everton), Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikola Kalinic (Dnipro)

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