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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:08 am 
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Yugoslavia in the 90s: the greatest team there never was?

The Yugoslavian war possibly denied the world the greatest team in football history.

Jonathan Wilson
July 24, 2007 12:56 PM

Some great teams are designed, planned from the very first in painstaking detail; some are flung together, making a mockery of all notions of preparations. It was 20 years ago this summer that, almost blinking in surprise at themselves, the greatest youth team there has ever been swept to the World Under-20 championship in Chile.

In the build-up to the tournament, the Yugoslav Football Federation (FSJ) made no secret of the fact they were sending a team only to fulfil their obligation to Fifa. Their captain, Aleksandar Djordjevic, had been sent off in the final qualifying match in Hungary and banned for four games, and with Igor Berecko, Dejan Vukicevic, Igor Pejovic and Seho Sabotic injured and Boban Babunski left out because he was in dispute with his club over his contract, the FSJ also told Sinisa Mihajlovic, Vladimir Jugovic and Alen Boksic to stay at home on the grounds that they would gain more by playing league football.

The only journalist who travelled to the finals was Toma Mihajlovic, and even he was there mainly to report on the large Yugoslav ex-pat community in Santiago. Mihajlovic, who died earlier this year, was one of football's great anecdotalists, a man hugely generous with his time and memories. Chile 1987 he always recalled as one of his favourite trips. "Nobody had any expectations from the team," he said. "We thought they'd play the three group games and go home. But when they got to Chile those players found another face. They found a nice country and good accommodation in excellent hotels, and so many girls around..."

After heavy rain had forced the postponement of the opening ceremony, Yugoslavia beat Chile in the opening game 4-2, a victory of such fluency that a belief was ignited. It was here, Slaven Bilic always maintained, that the spirit that carried Croatia to third place in the 1998 World Cup was born. He was not there, sidelined by an ankle injury (although he never played for Yugoslavia at any level, perhaps because of his father's position as a prominent advocate of greater Croatian autonomy), but in that Yugoslavia team were Robert Jarni, Igor Stimac, Robert Prosinecki, Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, all mainstays of Miroslav Blazevic's squad 11 years later.

"The boys realised that if they won the second and third games they would be able to stay in Santiago," Mihajlovic said. And it was worth staying in. Mirko Jozic, the Yugoslavia coach, had a reputation as a disciplinarian, and tried to rein his players in, but Stimac had met the winner of Miss Chile 1987, herself of Yugoslav descent, and nothing was going to get in the way of his socialising. "There were no out and out fights," said Mihajlovic, "but there was constant friction between them. I was with the players most nights, and there was nothing wild. They stuck together and didn't drink, but they did stay in the clubs until three or four every morning."

Australia were dispatched 4-0 and Togo 4-1. Then Red Star decided they could do with Prosinecki for a Uefa Cup tie against Club Bruges, and attempted to recall him. The players protested to Fifa, and João Havalange, then the organisation's chairman, intervened to keep Prosinecki in Chile. He responded by bending in a last-minute free-kick winner against Brazil in the quarter-final. It was later voted the goal of the tournament.

Yugoslavia then beat East Germany 2-1 in the semi-final, but at some cost. Predrag Mijatovic was sent off and Prosinecki was booked in the last minute, meaning both would miss the final through suspension. A plot, clearly, for no Balkan victory is complete without a triumph over perfidy. The Australian referee, Richard Lorenc, it turned out, had had a major confrontation with the Red Star legend Dragan Sekularac, then coaching in Melbourne, only a year earlier. And hadn't the Australian coach, Les Scheinflug, who had been born in Yugoslavia of German parents, warned Jozic about him?

Well, perhaps, but if there really were a conspiracy, why let Yugoslavia win? Why wait until the final minute, when there could be no guarantee he would make a tackle, to book Prosinecki? None of it sounds very convincing, and if there were a plot it failed dismally. Boban gave Yugoslavia an 85th-minute lead against West Germany in the final, and, although Marcel Witeczek equalised with a penalty two minutes later, he went on to miss his kick in the shoot-out, giving Yugoslavia victory.

"The team stayed in Chile for two days afterwards to celebrate," Mihajlovic said. "It was Robert Jarni's birthday so there was a party for him. In the semi-final Dubravko Pavlicic had had two teeth knocked out by Matthias Sammer, so they invited the dentist who'd repaired them to the party and presented him with the match-ball. There was a real family atmosphere with the Yugoslav community there, and when they went home after three weeks everybody was crying."

And yet, celebrated as that 1987 team are, there is always the shadow of what if? What if the war hadn't happened? What if Jarni, Stimac, Prosinecki, Boban, Suker and Mijatovic had been allowed to blend with Mihajlovic, Jugovic and Boksic, as well as the players who were already established - Dragan Stojkovic, Dejan Savicevic and Srecko Katanec. "Then," Katanec said, "we would have crushed the world." Perhaps, but instead they had to watch as Denmark took their place at Euro 92, and won the tournament.


http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/ ... _grea.html

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 5:25 am 
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Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 5:54 am 
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Oh come on mate! Stop being a badbelle here. :P :twisted: The Serbs, Montenegrins, Bosnians etc had some fine talents too. Wasn't that 1991 Red Star Belgrade squad comprised of mostly Serbs? :roll: Apart from Prosinecki, Belodedici (sp?) and Pancev all those Red Star Belgrade players were mostly Serbs.

mate wrote:
Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:04 am 
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...Robert Jarni, Igor Stimac, Robert Prosinecki, Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, all mainstays of Miroslav Blazevic's squad 11 years later.

...Alen Boksic



We also scored Miss Chile.


Need I say more?

We're the only Kings in the Balkans.

8-) 8-) 8-)

Cheers, Mate

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:15 am 
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Oh whatever mate :P As much as I admired Croatia and their wonderful run during France 98 (which I supported them throughout) the Serbs had some serious talents too! Examples: Savicevic, Mijatovic, Sinisa M, Stoijkovic, Jugovic, Stankovic and Savo Milosevic. You've got to appreciate that too mate! :)

mate wrote:
...Robert Jarni, Igor Stimac, Robert Prosinecki, Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, all mainstays of Miroslav Blazevic's squad 11 years later.

...Alen Boksic



We also scored Miss Chile.


Need I say more?

We're the only Kings in the Balkans.

8-) 8-) 8-)

Cheers, Mate

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:52 am 
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I think Mate's negative attitude tells exactly why they all ended up butchering each other. God forbid anyone add mention of Bosnians players too: he would probably pull out an AK-47, take the plane back home and start shooting people.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:06 pm 
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Ziontrain wrote:
I think Mate's negative attitude tells exactly why they all ended up butchering each other. God forbid anyone add mention of Bosnians players too: he would probably pull out an AK-47, take the plane back home and start shooting people.


I think mate is half joking :idea:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:22 pm 
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mate wrote:
Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate


Luka Modric is a player I'm really looking forward to....

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:24 pm 
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Altobelli, you know your football. Miodrag Belodedici or Belodedic depending on wether he was Yugoslav or Romanian. What a player, one of the best CDs I have ever seen. Won the European cup with Steau Bucharest then defected to Yugoslavia, where he belonged to one of the ethnic groups and won the European cup again with Red Star Belgrade. The Romanians finally coaxedhim back to international football and he played in the 1994 and 1998 WCs. His partnership with Gica Popescu in 94 was brilliant.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:37 pm 
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I think the real team here would be the Czech team.In my opinion they were far younger than the Argies of the FIFA under 20 team in Canada 2007.

uote="mate"]Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate[/quote]

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:39 pm 
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I think the real team here would be the Czech team.In my opinion they were far younger than the Argies of the FIFA under 20 team in Canada 2007.

uote="mate"]Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate[/quote]

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:39 pm 
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I think the real team here would be the Czech team.In my opinion they were far younger than the Argies of the FIFA under 20 team in Canada 2007.

uote="mate"]Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate[/quote]

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:39 pm 
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I think the real team here would be the Czech team.In my opinion they were far younger than the Argies of the FIFA under 20 team in Canada 2007.

uote="mate"]Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate[/quote]

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:40 pm 
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I think the real team here would be the Czech team.In my opinion they were far younger than the Argies at the FIFA under 20 championship in Canada 2007.

uote="mate"]Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate[/quote]

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Last edited by Purity on Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:47 pm 
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Papparassi Sport, why are you stuttering?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:00 pm 
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My system seem to have gone gaga..I am really sorry

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:02 pm 
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we heard you the first time :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:21 pm 
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Dammy wrote:
Papparassi Sport, why are you stuttering?









:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:26 pm 
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i think mate might have a point..Look at their history post and pre war...before the war, yoguslaivia had not mae the WC back to back since the 1954 -1962... Yeah they had the stars but could they play as a cohesive unt to win greatly??? that will never be proven, but from the wasy of that country i doubt it..thats why the inconsistencies..i had a thread on this a while back too..yugoslavia had the talent, but something deeper was prventing them from consistently shining like their counterparts in europe and the world.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:35 pm 
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original skeepolah

Exactly!

We not only made the WC in our 1st attempt to qualify as an independent nation...but we also took 3rd place, giving France a serious run for their money in the semi-final. Who knows what would have happened had Alen Boksic been healthy enough to partner Davor Suker.

The fact of the matter is that a united Yugoslavia never had such a footballing achievement in 50 years of trying. In fact, it sometimes missed WCs despite massive talent at its disposal. For a long time, Serbian players received preference as opposed to more talented Croatians. The league was such a joke in how matches were fixed for Red Star and Parizan Belgrade.

Ever since independence, we have made every WC and missed just one Euro. Our clubs do better than anybody elses. We have managed this after war destroyed much of our country.

Modric is the tip of the iceberg. We have a collection of highly touted youngsters coming through the pipe, attracting big club attention. We even have an excellent forward named Da Silva...a naturalized Brazilian.

:P

Cheers, Mate

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:40 pm 
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Ziontrain wrote:
I think Mate's negative attitude tells exactly why they all ended up butchering each other. God forbid anyone add mention of Bosnians players too: he would probably pull out an AK-47, take the plane back home and start shooting people.


I think this example of logically fallacious thinking explains why you constantly are fleeing or being booted out of competitive capitalist cultures for those offering socialist handouts.

:lol:

I actually support all th ex-Yugoslav republics in their footballing endeavors. But, the fact of the matter is that Croatia has by far been the strongest performer of all of them.

Cheers, Mate

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:46 pm 
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mate wrote:
Don't be fooled. The Croatians are the only real deal from the ex-Yugoslavia. In fact, we have another superstar generation emerging...just in time for the next Euro and WC in Africa.

Watch this space.


8-)

Cheers, Mate



:roll: :roll: :roll: OK yeah like the last WC abi???

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:39 pm 
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Dammy wrote:
Papparassi Sport, why are you stuttering?
:lol: :lol: :lol:

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