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Discussion Starter #1
I've only heard speculation from onefootball.com then I saw this today from reuters.


Croatia drop Prosinecki and Suker

By Simon Evans

IBARAKI, Japan, June 7 (Reuters) - Croatia coach Mirko Jozic has axed midfielder Robert Prosinecki and striker Davor Suker from the starting line-up ahead of Saturday's World Cup group G game with Italy.

The big name pair, members of the side which reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in France four years ago, were both substituted after poor showings in Croatia's 1-0 opening defeat to Mexico.

Suker was top scorer in the 1998 tournament with six goals.

Jozic said he had a list of 14 players who were in contention for a starting place against the Italians and Prosinecki and Suker were not in the list.

But the Croatia coach said the duo could play some part in the match as substitutes.

"I didn't say that they will not play some part in the game," said Jozic, "They could play a part, it depends on the situation."

While Jozic was tight-lipped about the 11 players who will face Giovanni Trapattoni's side, forward Milan Rapaic and attacking midfielder Davor Vugrinec look the most likely replacements.

DIFFICULT TASK

Vugrinec plays in Italy with Lecce while Fenerbahce's Rapaic previously played for Serie A club Perugia.

Jozic admitted his side faced a difficult task against the Italians, one of the favourites for the title. He said: "Miracles don't happen often but we have to believe in ourselves."

The Croatia coach is clearly hoping that the changes he plans for the team will help upset the confident Italians, who have conceded just 10 goals in their last 20 World Cup finals games.

"We will try and change our tactics and our approach. It won't be easy because the Italian defence is very strong. But don't forget that our defence only conceded two goals in qualification," said Jozic.

"We will try to change things from the Mexico game and look to the one-one situations and the moments of inspiration that arrive in a game which are so important," added the Croatia coach.
06/07/02 04:36 ET


Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
 

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I'm not worried about them being dropped, they didn't perform. Suker never should've been there in the first place and Robi disappointed.

Between Vuga-Rapa-Boka I think we form a better offensive trio than Robi-Suker-Boka was and it's younger.
 

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i think this is better considering this is the world cup and if u don't perform...there are lots of other players ready and willing to play and perform...suker and prosinecki don't deserve to play against italy
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Croatia ditch veterans against fancied Italy

By Simon Evans

IBARAKI, Japan, June 8 (Reuters) - It will be out with the old and in with the new for Croatia on Saturday as they hope to find the inspiration to beat World Cup group G favourites Italy.

Coach Mirko Jozic has axed veteran midfielder Robert Prosinecki and striker Davor Suker from the starting line-up -- both were substituted after poor showings in a 1-0 defeat by Mexico.

Suker was top scorer in the 1998 tournament, when Croatia reached the semifinals, and Jozic will likely look to Milan Rapaic to partner Alen Boksic. Davor Vugrinec is expected to take over Prosinecki's playmaking role.

Jozic has admitted his side faces a very difficult task against the Italians, saying: "Miracles don't happen often but we have to believe in ourselves."

The Italians may be forced into an unwished change with defender and captain Paolo Maldini facing a fitness test after turning his ankle in training on Friday.

Italy, one of the favourites for the title, can take a big step towards a place in the second round with a second straight win after their 2-0 victory over Ecuador on Monday.

Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni will wait for news about Maldini's injury before deciding on his starting line-up.

Should Italy's most capped player fail to be fit for his 124th appearance for his country then Christian Panucci will likely play in a three-man defence with Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro.

Trapattoni would probably call up Francesco Coco for the left flank although central midfielders Gennaro Gattuso and Cristiano Zanetti could also be in the frame.

The Croats are the only team in group G to have previously beaten Italy, in a European championship game in Palermo in 1994, and Trapattoni believes his side will need to be alert.

"The second round of group games in this World Cup has shown that no-one can be sure of qualification and that applies to us too," said the Italy coach who welcomes back striker Filippo Inzaghi after he missed the Ecuador game with a knee injury.

Probable teams:

Italy: 1-Gianluigi Buffon; 2-Christian Panucci, 5-Fabio Cannavaro, 13-Alessandro Nesta, 3-Paolo Maldini (or 4-Francesco Coco); 19-Gianluca Zambrotta, 14-Luigi Di Biagio, 17-Damiano Tommasi; 10-Francesco Totti; 9-Filippo Inzaghi, 21-Christian Vieri.

Croatia: 1-Stipe Pletikosa; 20-Dario Simic, 21-Robert Kovac, 3-Josep Simunic, 17-Robert Jarni; 4-Stjepan Tomas, 14-Zvonimir Soldo, 10-Niko Kovac, 7-Davor Vugrinec, 5-Milan Rapaic, 11-Alen Boksic.

Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)

Heiner Mueller (Germany)

Jens Larsen (Denmark)
06/07/02 19:49 ET


Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
 
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