Catalonia national football team

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Catalonia
Shirt badge/Association crest
AssociationCatalan Football Federation (Federació Catalana de Futbol)
ConfederationNone
CaptainSergio García
Most capsSergio González (15)
Top scorerSergio García (9)
Home stadiumCamp Nou
First colours
Second colours
First international
France France 7–0 Catalonia Catalonia
(Paris, France; 21 February 1912)
Biggest win
Catalonia Catalonia 5–0 Lithuania Lithuania
(Barcelona, Spain; 22 December 2000)
Catalonia Catalonia 5–0 Nigeria Nigeria
(Barcelona, Spain; 22 December 1998)
Biggest defeat
 Spain 7–0 Catalonia Catalonia
(Barcelona, Spain; 13 March 1924)
France France 7–0 Catalonia Catalonia
(Paris, France; 21 February 1912)

The Catalonia national football team (Catalan: Selecció de futbol de Catalunya) is the official football team of the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain. It is organised by the Catalan Football Federation. The team has been referred to by various names including Selecció Catalana, Selecció de Barcelona and the Catalan XI.

Catalonia is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA and is therefore not allowed to participate in either the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship. Other than in certain cases where other nationalities are involved, Catalan players are full Spanish citizens who are eligible to play for Spain.

Since 1904, the team has played nearly 200 games against various national, regional and club teams.[1] International friendly games have been played more regularly since 1997. Among the teams they have played are Nigeria, Brazil and Argentina. Recent friendly games include a 4–2 win over Argentina at Camp Nou in December 2009,[2] and a 4–0 win over Honduras in December 2010.

History[edit]

First games[edit]

The Catalonia team made their debut in 1905. Initially they played against various club teams such as Club Espanyol, Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Irún Sporting Club. On 2 February 1912, they made their international friendly debut against France, losing 7–0 in Paris. The team was: Reñé, Irízar, Amecharruza, Alemany, Peris, Armet, Forns, Rodríguez, Comamala, Morales and Ramiro. On 1 December 1912, the two teams met again in Barcelona and this time the Catalans won 1–0. In 1914, the Catalan XI played the Basque Country XI for the first time, but there is no record of the result.[3] The first recorded game between the two teams took place on 3 January 1915 at San Mamés Stadium; the Catalan XI lost 6–1.[4]

Copa Príncep d'Astúries[edit]

Between 1915 and 1926, the Catalan XI competed in an inter-regional competition. They finished as runners-up in 1915 and won the Copa Príncep d'Astúries for the first time in 1916, beating a Castile XI 8–5 over two games. They then retained the trophy in 1917 after beating the Castile XI 2–0. During the 1920s, a team featuring Josep Samitier, Paulino Alcántara, Sagibarba and Ricardo Zamora helped the Catalan XI win the competition in 1922, 1924 and 1926. The last competition in 1926 was a play-off between the two teams who had won the competition the most. The Catalans beat an Asturias XI 6–3 over two games.

As well as playing other regional teams from throughout Spain and Europe, the 1920s also saw the Catalan XI play several international friendly matches. On 13 March 1924, at the Camp de Les Corts, the Catalan XI played Spain for the first time. The Spain XI included Josep Samitier and Ricardo Zamora, two of the best Catalan players of the era, while the Catalan XI featured Paulino Alcántara and Sagibarba. Samiter scored twice as the Spain XI won 7–0. On 13 December 1925, Samitier, Zamora, Alcántara and Sagibarba were on the same side as the Catalan XI beat Czechoslovakia at the Estadi de Sarrià. After conceding a penalty and going down 1–0, Sagibarba then equalised with another penalty before Samitier clinched a 2–1 win. On 7 July 1926, the Catalan XI played Czechoslovakia in Prague. Despite Samitier putting the Catalans 1–0 ahead, they eventually lost 2–1.

Catalonia vs. Brazil[edit]

During the 1930s, Catalonia continued playing friendly games against an array of teams; 1934 was a particularly good year. On 2 February, they played Spain and lost 2–0 at Les Corts. Four months later, they played Brazil twice. On 17 June, the Catalan XI beat Brazil 2–1 at Les Corts and then on 24 June, they held them to a 2–2 draw at the Vista Alegre in Girona. The Brazil team had been in Europe to play in the official 1934 FIFA World Cup and included the legendary Leônidas in their team. The Catalan XI completed a good month when on June 29 they beat the reigning official La Liga champions, Athletic Bilbao, 5–1.

The Franco era[edit]

After the Spanish Civil War, caudillo Francisco Franco imposed several restrictions on Catalonia, abolishing the Generalitat de Catalunya and banning the official use of the Catalan language and the Catalan flag. Despite these restrictions, the Catalan XI continued to play regularly during this period and even played Spain twice. On 19 October 1947, at the Sarrià and with a team featuring Juan Velasco, Marià Gonzalvo, Joan Segarra and César, they beat Spain 3–1. On 9 August 1953, Spain avenged this defeat with a 6–0 win.

During this era, several notable Barcelona players, including the Spanish players László Kubala, Luis Suárez, Evaristo and later Jesús María Pereda, played for the Catalan XI. On 26 January 1955, in a friendly game against Bologna at Les Corts, Kubala was also joined by another guest player, Alfredo Di Stéfano. The Catalan XI won 6–2 with two goals from Kubala and one from Di Stéfano. On 1 September 1956, Di Stéfano returned to Les Corts with Real Madrid, recent winners of the first official European Cup, and played a Selecció de Barcelona. Real won the game 7–3.

The Catalan XI marked the end of the Franco era with a friendly game against the Soviet Union at the Camp Nou on 6 June 1976. The team included Carles Rexach and guest Netherlands players Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens. The game finished 1–1 with Neeskens scoring for the Catalan XI. Cruyff's son, Jordi, would subsequently play regularly for the Catalan XI.

Democratic era[edit]

Catalonia vs Basque Country team playing in Camp Nou

Since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s, the Catalonia representative team has regularly played international friendly matches. They put together a string of successful results against countries like Bulgaria, Nigeria, Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Chile. On 5 May 2002, Catalonia hosted Brazil in a warm up friendly game before the official 2002 World Cup. Brazil, who went on to win the official competition, beat Catalonia 3–1. In 2004, Brazil returned for a second friendly game and this time won 5–2 at the Camp Nou, where some months later Argentina defeated Catalonia 3–0. The last friendly matches have been against Paraguay, Costa Rica, Basque Country, Argentina and Colombia.

Johan Cruyff era[edit]

On 2 November 2009, it was announced that Dutch legend and former Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff would be the new coach of Catalonia.[5][5] On 22 December 2009, they played a friendly against Argentina, which ended in a Catalonia win, 4–2 at Camp Nou. On 28 December 2010, Catalonia played another friendly against Honduras winning 4–0 at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys.[6] On 30 December 2011, Catalonia played Tunisia in a goalless draw at the Lluís Companys.[7] In their last game under Cruyff, on 2 January 2013, Catalonia drew with Nigeria at the Cornellà-El Prat, 1–1.[8]

Post-Cruyff era[edit]

Former player Gerard was appointed new coach for the Catalan team for two years. His first match with the team took place on 30 December 2013 against Cape Verde at the Olímpic Lluís Companys.[9]

Match history[edit]

Current squad[edit]

The following players were called up for the match against Tunisia on 28 December 2016.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Jordi Masip (1989-01-03) 3 January 1989 (age 29) 3 0 Spain Real Valladolid
13 1GK Èdgar Badia (1992-02-12) 12 February 1992 (age 26) 1 0 Spain Reus

2 2DF Víctor Álvarez (1993-03-14) 14 March 1993 (age 25) 4 0 Russia Arsenal Tula
3 2DF Andreu Fontàs (1989-11-14) 14 November 1989 (age 28) 4 0 United States Sporting Kansas City
4 2DF Alberto de la Bella (1985-12-02) 2 December 1985 (age 32) 4 0 Spain Real Sociedad
5 2DF Sergi Gómez (1992-03-28) 28 March 1992 (age 26) 2 0 Spain Sevilla
6 2DF Pol Lirola (1997-08-13) 13 August 1997 (age 21) 1 0 Italy Sassuolo
13 2DF Gerard Valentín (1993-07-28) 28 July 1993 (age 25) 1 0 Spain Deportivo de La Coruña
14 2DF Aarón Martín (1997-04-22) 22 April 1997 (age 21) 1 0 Germany Mainz 05

7 3MF Xavi Hernández (1980-01-25) 25 January 1980 (age 38) 12 2 Qatar Al Sadd
8 3MF Joan Verdú (1983-05-05) 5 May 1983 (age 35) 11 3 China Qingdao Huanghai
9 3MF Sergi Roberto (1992-02-07) 7 February 1992 (age 26) 6 0 Spain Barcelona
10 3MF Marc Crosas (1988-01-09) 9 January 1988 (age 30) 3 0 Mexico FC VIP
11 3MF Víctor Rodríguez (1989-07-23) 23 July 1989 (age 29) 2 0 United States Seattle Sounders
12 3MF Sergi Samper (1995-01-20) 20 January 1995 (age 23) 2 0 Spain Barcelona
13 3MF Marc Roca (1996-11-26) 26 November 1996 (age 21) 1 0 Spain Espanyol
14 3MF Pere Pons (1993-02-20) 20 February 1993 (age 25) 1 0 Spain Girona

15 4FW Sergio García (1983-06-09) 9 June 1983 (age 35) 14 9 Spain Espanyol
16 4FW Álvaro Vázquez (1991-04-27) 27 April 1991 (age 27) 6 0 Spain Espanyol
17 4FW Gerard Moreno (1992-04-07) 7 April 1992 (age 26) 3 1 Spain Villarreal
18 4FW Oriol Riera (1986-07-03) 3 July 1986 (age 32) 2 1 Australia Western Sydney Wanderers

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have been called up for the team in the last two years.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK "Kiko" Casilla (1986-01-02) 2 January 1986 (age 32) 5 0 Spain Real Madrid
1GK Jordi Codina (1982-04-27) 27 April 1982 (age 36) 4 0 Spain Fuenlabrada
1GK Pau López (1994-12-13) 13 December 1994 (age 23) 1 0 Spain Real Betis

2DF Gerard Piqué (1987-02-02) 2 February 1987 (age 31) 9 0 Spain Barcelona
2DF Martín Montoya (1991-04-14) 14 April 1991 (age 27) 5 0 England Brighton
2DF Marc Bartra (1991-01-15) 15 January 1991 (age 27) 5 0 Spain Real Betis
2DF Jordi Alba (1989-03-21) 21 March 1989 (age 29) 5 0 Spain Barcelona
2DF Aleix Vidal (1989-08-21) 21 August 1989 (age 29) 3 0 Spain Sevilla
2DF Jordi Amat (1992-03-21) 21 March 1992 (age 26) 2 0 Spain Rayo Vallecano
2DF Dídac Vilà (1989-06-09) 9 June 1989 (age 29) 2 0 Spain Espanyol
2DF Raúl Rodríguez (1987-09-22) 22 September 1987 (age 31) 1 0 China Meixian Techand
2DF Marc Muniesa (1992-03-27) 27 March 1992 (age 26) 1 0 Spain Girona
2DF Sergio Juste (1992-01-12) 12 January 1992 (age 26) 1 0 India FC Goa
2DF Marc Valiente (1987-03-20) 20 March 1987 (age 31) 1 0 Serbia Partizan

3MF Sergio Busquets (1988-07-16) 16 July 1988 (age 30) 8 0 Spain Barcelona
3MF "Piti" (1981-05-26) 26 May 1981 (age 37) 6 1 Greece AEL
3MF "Cesc" Fàbregas (1987-05-04) 4 May 1987 (age 31) 3 0 England Chelsea
3MF Víctor Sánchez (1987-09-08) 8 September 1987 (age 31) 3 0 Spain Espanyol
3MF Javier Márquez (1986-05-11) 11 May 1986 (age 32) 2 0 Spain Gimnàstic
3MF David López (1989-10-09) 9 October 1989 (age 29) 1 0 Spain Espanyol
3MF Sergio Tejera (1990-05-28) 28 May 1990 (age 28) 1 0 Spain Real Oviedo
3MF Jordi Xumetra (1985-10-24) 24 October 1985 (age 33) 1 0 Spain Olot
3MF Oriol Rossell (1992-07-07) 7 July 1992 (age 26) 1 0 United States Orlando City
3MF Isaac Cuenca (1991-04-27) 27 April 1991 (age 27) 1 0 unattached
3MF Gerard Deulofeu (1994-03-13) 13 March 1994 (age 24) 1 0 England Watford
3MF Joan Jordán (1994-07-06) 6 July 1994 (age 24) 1 0 Spain Eibar

4FW Ferran Corominas (1983-01-05) 5 January 1983 (age 35) 8 1 India FC Goa
4FW Bojan Krkić (1990-08-20) 20 August 1990 (age 28) 7 6 England Stoke City
4FW Jonathan Soriano (1985-11-24) 24 November 1985 (age 32) 5 1 China Beijing Sinobo Guoan F.C.
4FW Cristian Tello (1991-08-11) 11 August 1991 (age 27) 2 0 Spain Real Betis
4FW Keita Baldé (1995-03-08) 8 March 1995 (age 23) 1 0 Italy Inter

Notable players[edit]

List of Catalan players who also represented FIFA international teams in International and Olympic matches[edit]

 Andorra

 Belgium

 Dominican Republic

 Equatorial Guinea

 France

 Italy

 Netherlands

 Senegal

 Serbia

 Spain

Guest players[edit]

Because Catalonia is not a member of either UEFA or FIFA due to it being a region of Spain, obvious eligibility rules based on birthplace do not apply. As a result of unofficial friendly team, a number of players who were not born in Catalonia have guested for the Catalan XI. With the notable exception of Alfredo Di Stéfano, most were playing for Barcelona at the time. Notice that some players, as Andrés Iniesta, Jordi Cruyff or Lionel Messi had lived most of their lives (and childhood) in Catalonia. Some others, as Sagibarba or Paulino Alcántara had Catalan ancestors (for example: Alcántara was the son of a Catalan military officer in the Spanish Philippines and moved to Barcelona after the Spanish–American War as a child).

Selected coaches[edit]

Honours[edit]

  • Copa Príncep d'Astúries
    • Winners (5): (1916, 1917, 1921, 1924, 1926)
    • Runners-Up (1): (1915)

Estimated Elo[edit]

The Elo rating system was adapted for football by adding a weighting for the kind of match, an adjustment for the home team advantage, and an adjustment for goal difference in the match result. Its estimated Elo is 1856 (current fantasy rank: 16th). Its highest Elo were 1885 points (after winning against Honduras on December 28, 2010). At that time it would have been the seventh world national football team in the World behind Spain, Germany, Argentina and England and above Portugal, Italy, France and among those.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ esportcatala.com Archived September 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "4–2: Catalunya suma un triunfo de prestigio frente a Argentina" (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 22 December 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014.
  3. ^ fcbarcelona.com Archived November 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Vasconia-Cataluña" (PDF). Mundo Deportivo, 4/1/1915. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Cruyff will coach Catalonia team". BBC News. 2 November 2009.
  6. ^ "Catalonia defeats Honduras". La Prensa.hn (Honduran national newspaper). 29/12/2010.
  7. ^ "Catalonia draws with Tunisia". El Periódico de Catalunya (Catalionian newspaper) 31/12/2011.
  8. ^ "Catalunya empata con Nigeria en la despedida de Cruyff". ElPeriodico.com. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Catalunya jugará contra Cabo Verde el 30 de diciembre". Lavanguardia.com. 15 November 2013.
  10. ^ "De Futbol". El Telegrama del Rif, 17 June 1924, page 3. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  11. ^ Report: Homage to Kubala (1993)

External links[edit]