Football in Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Bosnia and Herzegovina's most popular sport is football and most successful team is the national football team which qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, their first major tournament as an independent nation, after winning their qualifying group ahead of Greece. The national team is yet to qualify for a European Championship. Before this success, the national team came close to qualifying for major tournaments on a few occasions. The team lost to Portugal in play-offs for both 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012. The national side has also been in a situation during qualifiers for both UEFA Euro 2004 and UEFA Euro 2012 needing a victory in the final game to progress directly to the final tournament. During World Cup 2006 qualifying, the team needed a victory in the final match to book a playoff berth, at its opponents expense.
Bosnia's home ground is Bilino Polje Stadium in the city of Zenica. The national team's first international victory as a FIFA member came against 1994 FIFA World Cup runners-up Italy on 6 November 1996. The national team's highest FIFA World Ranking was 13th in August 2013. October 2013 FIFA World Rankings, used to seed qualified teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final Draw, placed Bosnia and Herzegovina as the highest ranked team of all former Yugoslav republics for the first time in history. In the past years, the national side finished twice among the top three best movers in FIFA World Ranking of the year.
The game reached Bosnia and Herzegovina at the start of the 20th century, with Sarajevo (in 1903) and Mostar (in 1905) being the first cities to embrace it. Banja Luka, Tuzla, Zenica and Bihać were next along with numerous smaller towns as the sport spread. The country was under Austro-Hungarian rule when official competition began in 1908, though these activities were on a small scale within each territory. At the outbreak of World War I, there were four clubs in Sarajevo; SAŠK, Slavija, Đerzelez (also known as Sarajevski), and Makabi Sarajevo (also known as Barkohba) and approximately 20 outside the capital. The creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia post 1918 brought an increase in the number of leagues, and soon a domestic national championship was organised featuring two teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1920, the direct predecessor of the football federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina was founded as the Sarajevo football subassociation. The unified Yugoslav championship ran until 1939/40.
Bosnia and Herzegovina's best sides at the time were Sarajevo, Željezničar (Sarajevo) and Velež (Mostar) which played in the Yugoslavian first league, second league and cup competitions with moderate success, while its best players with the likes of Vahid Halilhodžić, Safet Sušić, Josip Katalinski, Faruk Hadžibegić, Ivica Osim, Asim Ferhatović, Blaž Slišković, Mehmed Baždarević, Dušan Bajević and many others were chosen to represent SFR Yugoslavia national football team.
N/FSBiH operates these codes:
- Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
- Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup,
- Bosnia and Herzegovina Women's Football Cup,
- Bosnia and Herzegovina national futsal team,
- Bosnia and Herzegovina national under-17, under-19 and under-21 football team,
- Bosnia and Herzegovina men's national football team,
- Bosnia and Herzegovina women's national under-17 and under-19 national team,
- Bosnia and Herzegovina women's national football team among other footballing matters and codes.
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- H. Ljevo (11 December 2013). "From Brazil to Brazil in 64 years". sportsport.ba. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- nfsbih.net (4 April 2012). "BiH. teams list". nfsbih.net (in Bosnian). Retrieved 4 April 2012.