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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Prosinecki plans retirement
Mario Stanic, Robert Prosinecki and Slaven Bilic celebrate their strong showing at France 98
Prosinecki (centre) was in Croatia's 98 Cup campaign
Croatia's Robert Prosinecki has decided to bring the curtain down on his international career at the World Cup.

The 33-year-old announced his intention before joining Croatia's World Cup training camp in the Austrian Alps.

However, the inspirational midfielder hopes to stay in the Far East and is presently negotiating a contract to play in Japan's J-League after spending a season with English club Portsmouth.

Prosinecki is one of only five players to have represented two countries at a World Cup, having first appeared for Yugoslavia in 1990.

Two team players
Luis Monti
Argentina '30 & Italy '34
Ferenc Puskas
Hungary '54 & Spain '62
Jose Santamaria
Uruguay '54 & Spain '62
Jose Altafini
Brazil '58 & Italy '62
Robert Prosinecki
Yugoslavia & Croatia
Four years ago he was part of Croatia's memorable campaign when they reached the last four.

"It is time to start building a new team," Prosinecki said.

"I've had a short break after an exhausting season and when I raise my fitness there will be no problem.

"I want to prepare in the best possible way so I can give my best."

"I hope Croatia will make a memorable result in Japan with which I would retire my old international shirt."

Croatia start their campaign in the Far East against Mexico and Prosinecki is convinced that the match is key to their chances.

"Opening games are always important, but I think this one is crucial - we have to seek victory."

However, he added a note of caution.

"The most important thing is to stop livig in the past. In France we were stronger."

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GROUP G
  P GD PTS
MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3

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