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Wednesday, June 02, 2004 

Babic makes the final cut

Midfield player Marko Babic has been included in Croatia's final 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2004™.

Final cut
The Bayer 04 Leverkusen player has made the final cut after coach Otto Baric reduced his provisional 26-man squad down to 23. The player is currently in action for Croatia at the finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Players omitted
"For me Marko Babic was never in doubt but I waited to see everyone's form at the Under-21 finals in Germany," said Baric. NK Dinamo Zagreb duo Niko Kranjcar and Jasmin Agic, like Babic on U21 duty in Germany, have been left out of the final squad along with FC Kärnten forward Marijo Maric.

Waiting game
"I knew what the squad would be but I waited for a while, to see the Under-21 championship and in case there were any injuries," added Baric. "These 23 players are the best I could take and Niko Kranjcar and Danijel Pranjic will possibly be the first reserves for EURO 2004™."

Danish test
The newly reorganised squad will face its final test on Saturday before the start of the tournament with a game against fellow finalists Denmark in Copenhagen, and Baric said that he would give his first-choice team a run-out in that game. "In Denmark I'll play with the strongest team and maybe give a chance just to few players," he said. "Before and during that game we are going to think about the opening EURO match against Switzerland."

Croatia squad

Stipe Pleitkosa (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
Tomsislav Butina (Club Brugge KV)
Joey Didulica (FK Austria Wien)

Dario Šimic (AC Milan)
Boris Zivkovic (VfB Stuttgart)
Josip Šimunic (Hertha BSC Berlin)
Igor Tudor (Juventus FC)
Stjepan Tomas (Fenerbahçe SK)
Mato Neretljak (HNK Hajduk Split)
Mario Tokic (Grazer AK)

Niko Kovac (Hertha BSC Berlin)
Milan Rapaic (Ancona Calcio)
Jerko Leko (FC Dynamo Kyiv)
Marko Babic (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Darijo Srna (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
Nenad Bjelica (1. FC Kaiserslautern)
Giovanni Rosso (Maccabi Haifa FC)
Ivica Mornar (Portsmouth FC)

Dado Pršo (Rangers FC)
Tomislav Šokota (SL Benfica)
Ivica Olic (PFC CSKA Moskva)
Ivan Klasnic (SV Werder Bremen)

Source: uefa.com


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