Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Yugoslavia's National Team - If they never broke apart

Fig 1. Yugoslavia's old National Flag
Yugoslavia, the country in the heart of Europe with a large de facto area highlighted by numerous political conflicts within the country. The country also produced some fine talents in football and qualified for Euro 1992 which was held in Sweden but later was forced to pull out of the competition due to political issues in the country that couldn't be resolved easily which eventually led to be sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 thus leading to being banned from appearing (not going to detail on the history here, just stating the outter line for more info on their break up click here). Their replacements Denmark won Euro instead.

Now Yugoslavia is now long-gone and their former countries had considerable success in terms of Footballing sense. Yugoslavia broke to 6 different countries. Those countries are Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Macedonia.

Croatia has reached 3rd place in the 1998 World Cup, while Slovenia has qualified for 2002 & 2010 World Cups. Serbia(& Montenegro) reached the last 2 tournaments in 2006 & 2010 with ease but underachieved in the final stages. Bosnia-Herz has gona closer and closer to achieve something big and their national players have gone better and better. The least successful of them are Macedonia, and their not half bad themselves actually.

The writer wrote this article here to imagine "Who would make it into a 23-man Yugoslavia squad??" since with the wealth of talent they have, few faces might miss out on the chance.

Fig 2. Samir Handanovic
If you are going to a World Cup or a EURO tournament, there should only be 23 players in a team with 3 Goalies. Samir Handanovic of Slovenia gets my vote alongside Serbia's Vladimir Stojkovic with Bosnian youngster Asmir Begovic completing the Goal line.

Fig 3. Nemanja Vidic
Serbia has some of the best defenders across the European elite leagues so their first choice defense line will definitely make it into my squad in the form of Nemanja Vidic, Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandr Lukovic, and Aleksandr Kolarov. Croatia's Vedran Corluka & Darijo Srna will add depth in the Yugoslavia squad on the flanks and in the middle along with Branko Ilic of Slovenia who had a great World Cup a couple of months ago.

Fig 4. Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar
Here, all of the countries had strong competition - so strong I decided to pick only 7 defenders to compensate with 8 midfielders. Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar of Croatia are definite picks for my Yugoslavia team. Slovenia captain Robert Koren will be great in the middle of the park alongside Serbia's captain Dejan Stankovic. Competition on the wings would be completed with two Serbs in newly-signed Juventus player Milos Krasic and newly-signed Liverpool player Milan Jovanovic. Montenegro's Simon Vukcevic would make my team for his ability in dead-ball situations.

Fig 5. Edin Dzeko
Even I'm not going to be pleased with my striker choices because of all the possibilities available. For sure Bosnia's biggest star Edin Dzeko comes into my team alongside Macedonia's biggest star Goran Pandev. Mirko Vucinic is another Montenegro's representative in this star-studded squad. Croatia's striker duo Eduardo and Ivica Olic completes my Yugoslavia 23-man squad.

Final Squad:
Samir Handanovic, Vladimir Stojkovic, Asmir Begovic (GK); Nemanja Vidic, Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandr Kolarov, Aleksandr Lukovic, Vedran Corluka, Darijo Srna, Branko Ilic (DF); Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, Robert Koren, Dejan Stankovic, Milos Krasic, Milan Jovanovic, Simon Vukcevic (MF); Edin Dzeko, Mirko Vucinic, Goran Pandev, Eduardo, Ivica Olic (FW).

My Starting Yugoslavia Lineup (4-4-2):

Virtual 30-man squad players (Honorable Mentions):
Stipe Pletikosa (Goalkeeper) - Croatia
Stevan Jovetic (Striker) - Montenegro
Zvjezdan Misimovic (Midfielder) - Bosnia & Herzegovina
Nikola Zigic (Striker) - Serbia
Ivan Fatic (Defender) - Montenegro
Zdravko Kuzmanovic (Midfielder) - Serbia
Vedad Ibisevic (Striker) - Bosnia & Herzegovina

Imagine if this team had qualified for any competition, who would bet against them? This team is sick! even no place for Kuzmanovic or Jovetic somehow in the team.

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