Croatia take on the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Spain in Group C of the European Championships. Here, Sportsmail profiles all 23 members of their squad.
On his way? Bilic is tipped to leave Croatia after the tournament
1996 (quarter-finals), 2004 (first round), 2008 (quarter-finals).
Stipe Pletikosa (FC Rostov) Born: 08.01.79. Squad No: 1.
Has kept place despite patchy qualifying form, known as a good penalty-taker and scored five spot-kicks with his first club Hajduk Split where he won a league title and two cups. Enjoyed outstanding Euro 2008 before a dramatic dip in form during 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Excellent shot-stopper, but struggles with crosses.
Danijel Subasic (Monaco) Born: 27.10.84. Squad No: 23.
Made debut in 5-0 friendly win over Lichtenstein in 2009, but has not made a competitive appearance despite Pletikosa’s inconsistentcy. Enjoyed three good seasons with Hajduk Split, winning Croatian Cup, before move to Monaco, struggling in French second division.
Ivan Kelava (Dinamo Zagreb) Born: 20.02.88. Squad No: 12.
Shone in his club’s 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid in their opening Champions League match this season, when he made a string of saves. Started as a nine-year old at Dinamo, made impact after returning from one-year loan at neighbours Lokomotiva in 2010. Won 50 caps for Croatia at various youth levels, seen as long-term replacement for Pletikosa.
Josip Simunic (Hertha Berlin) Born: 18.02.78. Squad No: 3.
Australian-born centre-back, nearing end of career, but still an automatic starter due to his versatility, composure and remarkable skills for a towering 6ft 5in defender. Has lost pace since 2001 debut, no longer effective as a left-back, but vast experience and aerial prowess make him a natural central defender.
Vedran Corluka (Tottenham) Born: 05.02.86. Squad No: 5.
Joined Manchester City at 21, a versatile defender who can play all back four roles, peaked at Tottenham before being loaned to German side Bayer Leverkusen in January, 2012. Played in his natural positions of right-back and centre back for Croatia, but recently switched to left. Has excellent vision and skills for a tall defender.
Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Zagreb) Born: 29.04.89. Squad No: 21.
Right-back or centre-back, made debut as a substitute when Croatia held France to a goalless draw in friendly in Paris. Has excelled since, started both legs of their 3-0 aggregate win over Turkey in playoffs. Known for tough tackling and combative approach, Vida has added steel to an ageing Croatian defence.
Gordon Schildenfeld (Eintracht Frankfurt) Born: 18.03.85. Squad No: 13.
Much-travelled centre-back, now settled in German second division, has retained his place in most qualifiers. Left Dinamo in 2008, but struggled to establish himself at four clubs before Frankfurt.
Danijel Pranjic (Bayern Munich) Born: 02.12.81. Squad No: 6.
Attacking left-back, former midfielder, has lost starting spot after losing place at Bayern Munich, who he joined in 2009 after four seasons at Dutch side Hereenveen. Voted Dutch league’s second best player in 2008, but struggled at Bayern. Switched from left-midfield to left-back by coach Bilic.
Ivan Strinic (Dnipro) Born: 17.07.87. Squad No: 2.
Left-back, broke into squad after failure to reach 2010 World Cup finals, seen as long-term solution to chronic left-back problems. Played 90 minutes in last four group qualifiers, but dropped for playoff games against Turkey.
Proud history: Croatia have twice made the quarter-finals
EURO 2012 SQUADS
Click on team name to view squad
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Jurica Poljat (Maccabi Haifa) Born: 19.09.86. Squad No: 4.
A surprise inclusion after regular starter at centre-back and Lyon star Dejan Lovren was ruled out with injury. Joined Maccabi Haifa in 2011 after six years with Hajduk Split.
Sime Vrsaljko (Dinamo Zagreb) Born 10.01.92 Squad No: 15
A late call up to the squad to replace Ivo Illicevic, the 20-year-old has made four appearances at international level. Manchester City and Arsenal have kept tabs on the full-back who has spent his three-year career at Dinamo Zagreb playing nearly 50 league games for the club.
Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk) Born: 01.05.82. Squad No: 11.
Captain and most influential player, a right-midfielder or right back. Won five Ukrainian league titles, three national cups and 2009 UEFA Cup with Shakhtar. Lethal from set pieces, has excellent vision and can still make darting runs and telling crosses.
Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla) Born: 10.03.88. Squad No: 7.
Swiss-born winger, can play both flanks, yet to live up to huge potential after winning first cap in 2007 against Estonia, Croatia’s youngest competitive debutant. A crafty dribbler with quick feet and an eye for goal. At previous club Schalke was dropped after late-night partying with Serbian team mate Mladen Krstajic.
Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kiev) Born: 13.08.84. Squad No: 19.
Experienced attacking midfielder with vision, crisp passing and a sweet right-foot from set pieces, he struggled to hold regular place at Tottenham, before joining Kiev on the eve of the tournament, but remains a starter for Croatia. Drew wrath of Dinamo Zagreb fans in 2006 when he joined rivals Hajduk Split before switching to Portsmouth in 2007. Top scorer in qualifers with four goals.
Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev) Born: 20.12.83. Squad No: 8.
Defensive midfielder with eye for goal, a stalwart for Kiev since joining from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008, but no longer an automatic starter for Croatia. Always eager to test goalkeepers from long range, but his defending remains suspect against top-level opposition.
Luka Modric (Tottenham) Born: 09.09.85. Squad No: 10.
Dynamic, skilful and subtle driving force in Tottenham’s midfield, joined from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008, now a target for bigger European clubs who have forced Tottenham to reject a series of transfer bids. Croatia’s bid to reach the last eight depends heavily on his tireless running and clever passing. Modric is team’s lynchpin with an eye for goal.
Tomislav Dujmovic (Spartak Moscow) Born: 26.02.81. Squad No: 16.
Loaned to Spanish club Zaragoza in January, 2012, made only two league appearances, but broke into Croatia’s team after impressing as substitute in 2-1 home win over Georgia. Has guile and pace, but defending is not one of his virtues.
Ivan Perisic (Borussia Dortmund) Born: 02.02.89. Squad No: 20.
Young, talented, attacking midfielder who impressed with performances for German champions, including a stunning last-minute equaliser against Arsenal in Champions League group stages. Intense competition at Dortmund has limited his appearances, used mainly as a substitute in qualifiers.
Key man: Luka Modric pulls the strings
Milan Badelj (Dinamo Zagreb) Born: 25.03.89. Squad No: 14.
Versatile central midfielder, likely to be used as central midfield cover in squad. Rose to prominence in Croatian league with impressive record of 30 goals in 164 outings for Dinamo.
Nikola Kalinic (Dnipro) Born: 05.01.88. Squad No: 18.
Slaven Bilic was handed a huge blow after Ivica Olic was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury, but he can call on a reliable replacement in Kalinic. The striker struggled to get to grips with life at Blackburn between 2009 and 2011 but he has netted five goals in 13 games for his country.
Eduardo da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk) Born: 25.02.83. Squad No: 22.
Brazilian-born mobile striker and sharp finisher, missed Euro 2008 with a multiple shin and ankle fracture suffered that February just as he was establishing himself at Arsenal. After 12 months’ recovery, joined Shakhtar in 2010, helped them to league and cup double. Moved to Croatia as a 16-year old.
Nikica Jelavic (Everton) Born: 27.08.85. Squad No: 9.
After two seasons at Rapid Vienna, Jelavic enjoyed an excellent season at Rangers and earned move to Everton in January, 2012 where he has been outstanding, scoring consistently. Less impressive for Croatia, his goal-shy outings make him no more than a likely substitute if selected for squad.
Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg) Born: 21.05.86. Squad No: 17.
Tall, robust striker, has pace and good close control, scored 42 goals in 81 games for former Dinamo Zagreb before move to Bundesliga in 2010. Regular starter at Wolfsburg. Won Croatian League 2009 Player of the Year award and scored in play-off win over Turkey. Unpredictable, but could be surprise success in attack.