Football in Croatia

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Football in Croatia
Founded 1912
FIFA affiliation 1941
The Croatian Football Federation
President Davor Šuker

Football in Croatia, called nogomet, is the most popular team sport in the country and is led by the Croatian Football Federation.[1] It is played in four official components; the domestic league consists of three hierarchical echelons, and a single national team represents the entire state. The first Croat clubs were founded prior to the First World War and participated in the Yugoslavian league structure after Croatia became a part of Yugoslavia following the war. From 1940 to 1944, nineteen friendly matches were played by a Croatia national side representing the Second World War-era puppet states of the Banovina of Croatia and Independent State of Croatia. After the war, most of the prominent Yugoslavian clubs, including clubs in Croatia, were dissolved and replaced with new sides by Marshall Tito's Communist regime. Today, club football in Croatia is dominated by Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb. Since independence, the country has produced a string of players who have performed well in many of Europe's most highly regarded leagues and who took the national team to third place at the 1998 World Cup. [1]

Format[edit]

The governing body of football in Croatia is the Croatian Football Federation.[2] It oversees the organization of:

Note: the aforementioned competitions are for men if not stated differently. Women's football exists but is much less developed or popular.

Teams[edit]

By far the most popular clubs in the country are Dinamo (Zagreb), Hajduk (Split) and Rijeka (Rijeka).

Seasons[edit]

The following articles detail the major results and events in each season since the early 1990s, when the Prva HNL was formed. Each article provides the final league tables for that season, with the exception of the current one, as well as details on cup results, Croatia national football team results and a summary of any other important events during the season.

01990s0 1990–910 1991–920 1992–930 1993–940 1994–950 1995–960 1996–970 1997–980 1998–990 1999–20000
02000s0 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
02010s0 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20

History[edit]

Teams from the Republic of Croatia which competed in the Yugoslavian football championship from 1923-1940

Football was popularized in Croatia by Franjo Bučar in the late 19th century. During this period, its Croatian name, nogomet, was coined by the linguist Slavko Rutzner Radmilović. The name was accepted into Slovenian as well.

The earliest clubs were founded before World War I - HAŠK and PNIŠK in 1903, Hajduk and Građanski in 1911, etc. However, first Croatian football club Bačka from Subotica was founded in 1901 in the Kingdom of Hungary. In Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatian club Zrinjski Mostar is the oldest in the country and it was founded in 1905. The Croatian Football Federation was founded in 1912.

After World War I, the Croatians played a major part in the founding of the first football federation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later named the Football Association of Yugoslavia, and its headquarters were initially in Zagreb before they were moved to Belgrade in 1929. During this time, the talented Ico Hitrec played football. In 1927, Hajduk Split took part in the inaugural Mitropa Cup for Central European clubs.

Croatia had its first international football match on April 2, 1940 against Switzerland. During World War II, the Croatian Football Federation joined FIFA as a representative of the Independent State of Croatia, but this was contentious and short-lived as was the fascist puppet-state.

After the war, football was resumed in the second Yugoslavia. The communist regime in the new state quickly moved to ban all clubs who had either participated in the Croatian championship or bore Croatian national names. Many clubs were said to have links to the Ustaše. Victims of this disbanding included top-sides Concordia, HAŠK and Građanski, as well as the major Croatian clubs in today's Bosnia and Herzegovina SAŠK and HŠK Zrinjski Mostar. The largest club to avoid disbanding was Hajduk Split who had refused to participate in the Croatian competition.

At this point several other major clubs were founded - today's GNK Dinamo Zagreb, HNK Rijeka and NK Osijek, to name a few. Most clubs had to maintain loyalty to the regime, and it was common for clubs to have a communist red star as part of their emblem.

Over the following decades, the Croatian clubs performed well in the Yugoslav First League and the Yugoslav Cup. Hajduk and Dinamo formed one half of the Big Four of Yugoslav football (the other two being FK Partizan and Red Star Belgrade). In 1967, Zlatko Čajkovski of German club Bayern Munich became the only Croatian manager to win the European Cup Winners' Cup.

After Croatia gained independence in the 1990s, the football federation was reconstituted and joined the international associations.[3] The Croatian internationals from the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship-winning team went on to achieve more success, spawning the Golden Generation who won third place at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.[4] Since then, Croatia has continued to produce top players. At the more recent Euro 2008, they famously beat 2006 FIFA World Cup bronze medalists Germany 2-1 in a shock win but exited the tournament courtesy of a penalty shoot-out against Turkey in the quarterfinals.

Clubs in European competitions[edit]

  • Hajduk Split is the only Croatian club to date—either during the Yugoslav period or since independence—to have played in the knockout stages of the European Cup or UEFA Champions League, having reached the quarter-finals on three occasions (in 1975–76, 1979–80 and 1994–95).
  • Dinamo Zagreb have qualified for the Champions League group stage on four occasions (in 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2011–12 and 2012–13) but have yet to progress further.
  • Hajduk are also the only Croatian club to have advanced past the round of sixteen of the UEFA Cup/Europa League, reaching the semi-finals in 1983–84 and the quarterfinals in 1985–86. They also reached the UEFA Cup's last sixteen in 1981–82 and 1986–87, while Dinamo Zagreb were eliminated in the same round in 1997–98.
  • Croatian clubs had their most consistent success in the defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Both Dinamo Zagreb (1960–61) and Hajduk Split (1972–73) reached the semi-finals of the competitions. Dinamo have also reached the quarterfinals in 1964–65 and 1969–70, while Hajduk were eliminated at that stage in 1977–78. UEFA Cup Winners' Cup is also the only European competition that has seen Croatian clubs other than Dinamo and Hajduk reach the advanced stages. Rijeka reached the quarterfinals in the 1979–80 edition, while Varteks advanced to the quarterfinals in 1998–99, the last edition of the competition.

Best results[edit]

The table below lists Croatian clubs' best results in elimination rounds of European club competitions:

Competition Season Round Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
UCWC 1960–61 SF Fiorentina Italy 4–2 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb 3–0 1–2
UCWC 1963–64 R16 Celtic Scotland 4–2 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb 3–0 1–2
UCWC 1964–65 QF Torino Italy 3–2 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb 1–1 2–1
UCWC 1969–70 QF Dinamo Zagreb Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1–4 Germany Schalke 04 1–3 0–1
UCWC 1972–73 SF Leeds United England 1–0 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 1–0 0–0
EC 1974–75 R16 Hajduk Split Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 5–6 France Saint-Étienne 4–1 1–5
EC 1975–76 QF Hajduk Split Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 2–3 Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 2–0 0–3
UCWC 1976–77 R16 Atlético Madrid Spain 3–1 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 1–0 2–1
UCWC 1977–78 QF Austria Wien Austria 1–4 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 1–1 1–1
EC 1979–80 QF Hamburger SV Germany 3–3 (a) Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 1–0 2–3
UCWC 1979–80 QF Rijeka Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 0–2 Italy Juventus 0–0 0–2
UC 1981–82 R16 Valencia Spain 6–5 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 5–1 1–4
UC 1983–84 SF Hajduk Split Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 2–2 (a) England Tottenham Hotspur 2–1 0–1
UC 1985–86 QF Hajduk Split Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1–1 (p) Belgium Waregem 1–0 0–1
UC 1986–87 R16 Dundee United Scotland 2–0 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 2–0 0–0
UCWC 1987–88 R16 Marseille France 7–0 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 4–0 3–0
UCL 1994–95 QF Hajduk Split Croatia 0–3 Netherlands Ajax 0–0 0–3
UC 1997–98 R16 Dinamo Zagreb Croatia 1–2 Spain Atlético Madrid 1–1 0–1
UCWC 1998–99 QF Varteks Croatia 1–4 Spain Mallorca 0–0 1–3

Footballers in international club competitions[edit]

UEFA Champions League[edit]

The following table lists all Croatian players who either appeared in a UEFA Champions League Final, or were members of clubs which reached the final. It does not include Croatians who were considered Yugoslav players prior to Croatia's independence in 1991.

As of 2014 a total of seven Croatian players are credited as winning the Champions League: Alen Bokšić, Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker, Dario Šimić, Igor Bišćan, Mario Mandžukić and Luka Modrić, although Šimić and Bišćan did not appear in the finals.[5]

In terms of appearances, ten players have played in the final (Bokšić, Boban, Šuker, Živković, Babić, Tudor, Pršo, Olić, Mandžukić and Modrić), but only three players appeared more than once - Bokšić (1993, 1997), Boban (1994, 1995) and Olić (2010, 2012). The only Croatian player to have scored a goal in the final match was Mandžukić in the 2013 final.

Players indicated in bold appeared in the final and players marked with † won the competition.

Season Final Player Club Notes
1992–93 1993 Alen Bokšić France Marseille Starting eleven.
Zvonimir Boban Italy Milan Was not named in Milan's 16-man squad.
1993–94 1994 Zvonimir Boban Italy Milan Starting eleven.
1994–95 1995 Zvonimir Boban Italy Milan Starting eleven.
1996–97 1997 Alen Bokšić Italy Juventus Starting eleven.
1997–98 1998 Davor Šuker Spain Real Madrid Came on as a substitute in the 89th minute.
1999–2000 2000 Goran Vlaović Spain Valencia Was not named in Valencia's 18-man squad.
2001–02 2002 Boris Živković Germany Bayer Leverkusen Starting eleven.
Marko Babić Germany Bayer Leverkusen Came on as a substitute in the 91st minute.
2002–03 2003 Igor Tudor Italy Juventus Starting eleven.
Dario Šimić Italy Milan Was not named in Milan's 18-man squad.
2003–04 2004 Dado Pršo France AS Monaco Came on as a substitute in the 24th minute.
2004–05 2005 Igor Bišćan England Liverpool Unused substitute.
Dario Šimić Italy Milan Was not named in Milan's 18-man squad.
2006–07 2007 Dario Šimić Italy Milan Was not named in Milan's 18-man squad.
2009–10 2010 Ivica Olić Germany Bayern Munich Starting eleven.
Danijel Pranjić Germany Bayern Munich Unused substitute.
2011–12 2012 Ivica Olić Germany Bayern Munich Came on as a substitute in the 97th minute.
Missed a penalty in the penalty shoot-out.
Danijel Pranjić Germany Bayern Munich Unused substitute.
2012–13 2013 Mario Mandžukić Germany Bayern Munich Starting eleven. Scored in the 60th minute.
2013–14 2014 Luka Modrić Spain Real Madrid Starting eleven.

UEFA Europa League[edit]

The following table lists all Croatian players who appeared in the final of the UEFA Cup or its successor UEFA Europa League. It does not include Croatians who were considered Yugoslav players prior to Croatia's independence in 1991.

As of 2014 a total of five Croatian players are credited as winning the competition: Mario Stanić, Ivica Olić, Ivica Križanac, Darijo Srna and Ivan Rakitić - although Stanić did not appear for his club in the final. In addition, no Croatian player has either appeared in the final more than once or scored a goal in the final match.[6]

Players indicated in bold appeared in the final and players marked with † won the competition.

Season Final Player Club Notes
1993–94 1994 Damir Mužek Austria Casino Salzburg Came on as a substitute in the 1st leg.
Unused substitute in the 2nd leg.
Nikola Jurčević Austria Casino Salzburg Starting eleven in the 2nd leg.
1994–95 1995 Robert Jarni Italy Juventus Starting eleven in both legs.
1998–99 1999 Mario Stanić Italy Parma Was not named in Parma's 16-man squad.
1999–2000 2000 Davor Šuker England Arsenal Came on as a substitute in 115th minute.
Missed a penalty in the penalty shoot-out.
2004–05 2005 Ivica Olić Russia CSKA Moscow Starting eleven.
2007–08 2008 Ivica Križanac Russia Zenit St. Petersburg Starting eleven.
2008–09 2009 Darijo Srna Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk Starting eleven. Club captain.
Jurica Vranješ Germany Werder Bremen Unused substitute.
2013–14 2014 Ivan Rakitić Spain Sevilla Starting eleven. Club captain.

Futsal[edit]

Futsal, called mali nogomet (lit. "small football") in Croatia, is also widely played and is sometimes considered as a mini football league. It is often taught in schools and also played by football professionals as a pastime.

The Croatian First League of Futsal is the top-tier futsal competition.

Fans[edit]

The Croatian football fans organize in various fan groups such as the Torcida (Hajduk), Bad Blue Boys (Dinamo), Armada (Rijeka), Kohorta (Osijek), etc.

On the international games, the Croatian fans usually wear the checkerboard colors red and white, as they are on the Croatian coat of arms.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Croatia Is Basking In Its Surprising Soccer Success The Team, Toughened By War, Has Advanced To The Semifinals In Its First Trip To The Tournament. - Philly.com". Articles.philly.com. 1998-07-09. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  2. ^ "When Saturday Comes - Power shifts at the top of Croatian football". Wsc.co.uk. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  3. ^ Jamie Jackson. "Football: Why are they all better than us? | Football | The Observer". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  4. ^ Launey, Guy De (2013-05-02). "BBC News - What is Croatia's secret to sporting success?". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  5. ^ "Olić osmi hrvatski igrač u finalu Lige prvaka". Sportal.net (in Croatian). HINA. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Bariša, Mladen (20 May 2009). "Finale Kupa UEFA: Torcida će u Istanbulu nagovarati Srnu da se vrati u Hajduk". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). Retrieved 16 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • League321.com - Croatian football league tables, records & statistics database. (English)