Ireland v Croatia preview
Croatia battling injury concerns ahead of their Euro 2012 opener
Last Updated: 10/06/12 7:25pm
Giovanni Trapattoni: Ireland manager has a settled team ahead of their opener
Giovanni Trapattoni has revealed he wants to retain the intensity around his Republic of Ireland team as they prepare for their first Euro 2012 match against Croatia.
Ireland have qualified for their first European Championship in 24 years which has created a wave of excitement amongst the Irish public.
At 73, Trapattoni is vastly experienced, and he is drawing on his memory bank to help focus the minds of his team ahead of their Group C opener.
"I am not particularly excited, I'm a little tense. I want to keep a level of tension," he said.
"If the manager doesn't keep the tension, the players can lose intensity. The manager needs to keep a positive tension."
Trapattoni's starting line-up will have few surprises. Goalkeeper Shay Given returned to training on Friday, while Glenn Whelan was forced to miss the end of that session with an injury.
His was the only injury concern for Trapattoni who is expected to name the same starting XI against Croatia that played against Hungary last Monday.
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic, however, does have some injury concerns ahead of the opener.
He has already been forced to call up Sime Vrsaljko to replace the injured Ivo Ilicevic who ruptured a calf muscle. Vedran Corluka is also battling to be fit with a thigh strain.
Bilic said: "I am sorry about Ilicevic. We have lost another important player who is different to most of our team."
Corluka will face a late fitness but Bilic is hopeful he will be available.
He added: "It should be OK; he just felt something in his muscle. Based on the prognosis it shouldn't be anything serious."
European Championships Group A
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European Championships Group D
Rep of Ireland v Croatia
Keith Andrews admitted Ireland 'shot themselves in the foot' as they were dumped out of Euro 2012 thanks to a 4-0 thumping by Spain.
Niko Kranjcar believes Croatia can make it through to at least the semi-finals of Euro 2012 after kicking off their campaign with a victory.
Robbie Keane bemoaned referee Bjorn Kuipers' decision not to award the Republic of Ireland a penalty in their 3-1 defeat to Croatia in Poznan.
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