Corluka fit for Croatia clash with Ireland

Slaven Bilic has moved to calm concerns over Vedran Corluka’s fitness. Sky Sports report that despite picking up an injury in training, the defender should be fit enough to play against the Republic of Ireland on Monday.

The Croatian coach said: “Vedran felt pain in his hamstring” adding “Luckily everything is okay with him and he will be able to play against Ireland…. Just in case he won’t train with the team until Sunday. We don’t want to risk anything”

The Bayern Leverkusen player has been a regular feature for Croatia since debuting in 2006, playing 56 times and contributing 6 goals. But he has struggled with injuries in the last few seasons, managing only 35 league games in the last 3 years.

Despite his lack of games, Slaven Bilic will no doubt be relying on Corluka to deal with the attacking threat that Ireland possesses. The Daily Mail reported earlier this week that the 42-year-old manager is more than wary of his team’s opening fixture: “It’s an unbelievably competitive team. They are very solid, they play very simple football they don’t take a lot of risk” he said, adding “two strikers and two wide men who are very quick. One on one, they can decide a game.”

In their previous eight games, Croatia have won 6 to Ireland’s 4. However the last two times these sides met Croatia failed to score. In August the teams held each other to a 0-0 draw, to find the last time they met before then you have to go back to 2004 for a 1-0 win to Ireland at home.

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