Euro 2012: Republic of Ireland vs Croatia Preview


With Spain and Italy as firm favourites in Group C, the Irish and 2008 quarter-finalists Croatia will be keen on getting a victory in Poznan keep their hopes alive.

Here are the probable line ups:

IRELAND

Given - O'Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward - Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady - Long, Keane

CROATIA

Pletikosa - Corluka, Schildenfeld, Simunic, Strinic - Srna, Modric, Rakitic, Pranjic - Mandzukic, Jelavic

Republic of Ireland should have two experienced players back in the starting eleven for their first match at Euro 2012: goalkeeper Shay Given and defender John O'Shea. Given had some back and calf problems, but has returned to full training and is set to claim his 123rd cap on Sunday, while O'Shea played a whole 90 minutes in the recent 0-0 friendly draw with Hungary.

Danien Duff and Aiden McGeady will be the wingers while youngster James McClean will also be hoping for some playing time after an excellent season with Sunderland.

Giovanni Trapattoni is said to be still thinking about the attacking formula, with one of the probabilities being that of leaving veteran striker Robbie Keane alone up front.

Croatia boss Slaven Bilic will have to do without star striker Ivica Olic, who will miss the whole tournament with a thigh injury. He will probably be replaced by Nikica Jelavic.

The injury problems didn't stop at Olic though as Olympique Lyonnais centre-back Dejan Lovren and Hamburg midfielder Ivi Illicevic were also ruled out of the tournament.

However, defender Vedran Corluka has recovered and is expected to be in the starting eleven, with captain Dario Srna probably beaing moved up in midfield rather than at right-back.

Here are the odds for the match from William Hill:

Republic of Ireland to win - 5/2

Draw - 2/1

Croatia to win - 13/10

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