Jelavic Gets Croatia Nod
Striker named in preliminary squad for Euro 2012.
Everton striker Nikica Jelavic has been named in a preliminary Croatia squad for next month’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
The in-form frontman, who has netted 10 goals since joining the Toffees from Glasgow Rangers in January, was called up to the party on Thursday by former Blues defender Slaven Bilic, who serves as his national team boss.
Bilic also confirmed he will step down after the Euros.
Jelavic, who was last week named the Premier League's Player of the Month for April, will get the opportunity to cement his spot for the tournament in a friendly against Estonia on May 25 before the confirmed squad play their final warm-up game against Norway on June 2.
Croatia, who are in Group C for the tournament, will tackle the Republic of Ireland in their opening fixture on June 10, meaning Jelavic could face Everton teammate Darron Gibson, who received news of his inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad on Monday.
The Euro 2008 quarter-finalists will then meet Italy on June 14 before completing their group fixtures with a clash against World Champions Spain four days later.
Should Croatia repeat their feat of four years ago and progress from the group they could face England, France, Sweden or co-hosts Ukraine in the last eight.
Bilic said: "This is my last championship in charge of Croatia. I have always given my best and, now, I am fully focused on EURO. Afterwards I will be the biggest Croatia fan ‒ I have been a part of the national team for my whole life."
Meanwhile, new England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed he will name his 23-man squad on Wednesday, May 16.
Defensive duo Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka will both hope to be included having featured in recent squad’s under previous boss Fabio Capello.