Bilic to give fringe Croatia players a chance in friendly against Estonia


Croatia coach Slaven Bilic plans to give his fringe players an opportunity as his side step up their preparations for Euro 2012 this evening.

Croatia, who open their campaign against the Republic of Ireland on June 10th, will meet Estonia in Pula with Bilic promising a touch of the unexpected from his team selection.

Quite what Giovanni Trapattoni will be able to glean from tonight’s exercise is debatable with Bilic due to keep everyone guessing.

“Definitely, there will be surprises in the first XI,” said the manager. “It will not be the team which will go out against Ireland in the first match in Poznan. We will play guys who still need to earn a spot in the team. I will give them a chance.”

Bilic has yet to trim his squad to 23, keeping his options open with four extra players while the Bayern Munich pair of Ivica Olic and Danijel Pranjiæ only joined the squad yesterday after their involvement in last Saturday’s Champions League final defeat to Chelsea.

Lyon defender Dejan Lovren was another late arrival as he struggles to overcome a foot injury.

“Many things depends on Dejan’s recovery and possible new injuries,” added Bilic. “His injury is serious but we don’t need to rush with the decision yet.”