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Yugoslavia national football team

The Yugoslavia national football team represented the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1941, until 1929 as Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes), and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1943–1992, until November 29, 1945 as Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, 29 November 1945–1963 as Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia) in association football. It enjoyed success in international competition. In 1992, during the Yugoslav wars, the team was suspended from international competition as part of a United Nations sanction. In 1994, when the boycott was lifted, it was succeeded by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia national football team.

Yugoslav Football Federation 1990.png
Nickname(s) Plavi (The Blues)
Brazilians of Europe[1]
Association Football Association
of Yugoslavia
Most caps Dragan Džajić (85)
Top scorer Stjepan Bobek (38)
Home stadium Red Star Stadium, Belgrade
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Czechoslovakia 7–0 KY Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Antwerp, Belgium; August 28, 1920)
After 1945
 Czechoslovakia 0–2 SFRY Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(Prague, Czechoslovakia; May 9, 1945)
Last International as SFRY[2]
 Netherlands 2–0 SFRY Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(Amsterdam, Netherlands; March 25, 1992)
Biggest win
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia SFRY 10–0 Venezuela Venezuela
(Curitiba, Brazil; June 14, 1972)
Biggest defeat
 Czechoslovakia 7–0 KY Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Antwerp, Belgium; August 28, 1920)
 Uruguay 7–0 KY Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Paris, France; May 26, 1924)
 Czechoslovakia 7–0 KY Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Prague, Czechoslovakia; October 28, 1925)
World Cup
Appearances 8[2] (first in 1930)
Best result Third Place,1930 and Fourth Place 1962
European Championship
Appearances 4[2] (first in 1960)
Best result Runners-up, 1960 and 1968

The Serbia national football team inherited Yugoslavia's spot within FIFA and UEFA and is considered by both organisations as the only successor of Yugoslavia.[3][4][5]



Yugoslavia at the 1924 Summer Olympics

The first national team was in the kingdom that existed between the two world wars. The Football Federation of what was then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was founded in Zagreb in 1919 under the name Jugoslovenski nogometni savez (and admitted into FIFA), and the national team played its first international game at the Summer Olympics in Antwerp in 1920. The opponent was Czechoslovakia, and the historic starting eleven that represented Kingdom of SCS on its debut were: Dragutin Vrđuka, Vjekoslav Župančić, Jaroslav Šifer, Stanko Tavčar, Slavin Cindrić, Rudolf Rupec, Dragutin Vragović, Artur Dubravčić, Emil Perška, Ivan Granec, and Jovan Ružić. They lost by a huge margin 0–7, but nonetheless got their names in the history books.

1930 World CupEdit

A Yugoslavia line-up in the 1930 FIFA World Cup

In 1929, the country was renamed to Yugoslavia and the football association became Fudbalski Savez Jugoslavije and moved its headquarters to Belgrade. The national team participated at the 1930 FIFA World Cup, finishing in fourth place. In its first ever World Cup match in Montevideo's Parque Central, Yugoslavia managed a famous 2–1 win versus mighty Brazil, with the following starting eleven representing the country: Milovan Jakšić, Branislav Sekulić, Aleksandar Tirnanić, Milutin Ivković, Ivica Bek, Momčilo Đokić, Blagoje Marjanović, Milorad Arsenijević, Đorđe Vujadinović, Dragoslav Mihajlović, and Ljubiša Stefanović. The national team consisted of players based in Serbian football clubs, while the Zagreb Subassociation forbid players from Croatian clubs, some of whom were regulars in the national team until then, to play in the World Cup due to the relocation of football association's headquarters from Zagreb to Belgrade.[6]

Silver Medal at 1948 Summer OlympicsEdit

Yugoslavia began their football campaign by defeating Luxembourg 6–1, with five different players scoring the goals. In the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, they would take out Turkey and Great Britain by the same score of 3–1. In the final though, they would lose to Sweden.

Silver Medal at 1952 Summer OlympicsEdit

Having a team with many players from the 1948 generation, Yugoslavia was a formidable side at the 1952 Summer Olympics and finished as runners-up behind the famous "Golden Team" representing Hungary. Against the USSR, Yugoslavia was 5–1 up with 15 minutes of their first round match to go. The Yugoslavs, understandably, put their feet up. Arthur Ellis, the match referee, recorded what happened next in his book, The Final Whistle (London, 1963): "The USSR forced the most honourable draw ever recorded! [Vsevolod] Bobrov, their captain, scored a magnificent hat-trick. After the USSR had reduced the lead to 5–2, he, almost single-handed, took the score to 5–5, scoring his third in the last minute. For once, use of the word sensational was justified." Although Bobrov's early goal in their replay presaged a miraculous recovery, Yugoslavia recovered sufficiently to put out their opponents easily in the second half.

Later decadesEdit

The federation and football overall was disrupted by World War II. After the war, a socialist federation was formed and the football federation reconstituted. It was one of the founding members of the UEFA and it organized the 1976 European Championship played in Belgrade and Zagreb. The national team participated in eight World Cups and four Euros, and won the Olympic football tournament in 1960 at the Summer Games (they also finished second three times and third once).[7]

Dragan Džajić holds the record for the most national team caps at 85, between 1964 and 1979. The best scorer is Stjepan Bobek with 38 goals, between 1946 and 1956.

Dissolution and UN embargoEdit

With the end of the Cold War, democratic principles were introduced to the country which brought about the end of Titoist rule. In the subsequent atmosphere, national tensions were heightened. At the Yugoslavia-Netherlands friendly in preparation for the 1990 World Cup, the Croatian crowd in Zagreb jeered the Yugoslav team and anthem and waved Dutch flags (owing to its resemblance to the Croatian tricolour). With the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the team split up and the remaining team of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was banned from competing at Euro 92. The decision was made on May 31, 1992, just 10 days before the competition commenced.[8]

They had finished top of their qualifying group, but were unable to play in the competition due to United Nations Security Council Resolution 757. Their place was taken by Denmark, who went on to win the competition. Yugoslavia had also been drawn as second seed in Group 5 of the European Zone in the qualifying tournament for the 1994 World Cup. FRY was barred from competing, rendering the group unusually weak.


After the breakup of Yugoslavia, the FRY consisted of Montenegro and Serbia.[9][10] The national team of Serbia and Montenegro continued under the name Yugoslavia until 2003, when country and team were renamed Serbia and Montenegro. For the later official football teams, see:

National teamsEdit

Successor teamsEdit

Both FIFA and UEFA consider the Serbian national team to be the direct and sole successor of the Yugoslavia (Kingdom of Yugoslavia, SFR Yugoslavia and FR Yugoslavia) and Serbia and Montenegro national football teams. The teams of other republics were inducted as fully new members.

Nation International tournament (s) FIFA Active
  Croatia UEFA Euro 1996
1998 FIFA World Cup
2002 FIFA World Cup
UEFA Euro 2004
2006 FIFA World Cup
UEFA Euro 2008
UEFA Euro 2012
2014 FIFA World Cup
UEFA Euro 2016
2018 FIFA World Cup
(since 1991)
  Serbia 1998 FIFA World Cup (represented Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
UEFA Euro 2000 (represented Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
2006 FIFA World Cup (represented State Union of Serbia and Montenegro)
2010 FIFA World Cup (represented Republic of Serbia)
2018 FIFA World Cup (represented Republic of Serbia)
  Slovenia UEFA Euro 2000
2002 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
(since 1991)
  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2014 FIFA World Cup (since 1995)
  Macedonia (since 1991)
  Montenegro (since 2007)

Additional stats:

  • Croatia has/will appear at their 9th major tournament since independence, most by any other former republic;
  • Croatia's 3rd-place finish at 1998 FIFA World Cup is the best result at a major tournament by any other former republic;
  • Croatia was the first former Yugoslav nation to qualify to a major tournament after independence;
  • Slovenia has only qualified for major tournaments via play-offs (3);
  • Croatia were seeded inside Pot 1 of FIFA World Cup qualifications on 3 successive occasions, in 2010, 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, after FR Yugoslavia who were seeded once in 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification;
  • Only three former Yugoslav republics were ever seeded inside Pot 1 in the history of UEFA European Championship qualifying competition, after FR Yugoslavia (UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying), Croatia (UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying) and Bosnia (Euro 2016 qualifying);
  • No former SFR Yugoslav republic was ever seeded or in Pot 1 at finals of a major tournament;
  • Niko Kranjčar played for Croatia at 2006 FIFA World Cup under his father – head coach Zlatko Kranjčar; likewise Tino-Sven Sušić played for Bosnia at 2014 FIFA World Cup under his uncle – head coach Safet Sušić.

Youth teamsEdit

The under-21 team won the inaugural UEFA U-21 Championship in 1978.

The Yugoslav under-20 team won the FIFA World Youth Championship 1987.

Kit historyEdit





Competitive recordEdit

FIFA World Cup recordEdit

     Champions       Runners-up       Third Place       Fourth Place  

FIFA World Cup record Qualification Record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Squads Pld W D L GF GA
  1930 Third place 3rd 3 2 0 1 7 7 Squad Invited
  1934 Did Not Qualify
  1950 Group Stage 5th 3 2 0 1 7 3 Squad
  1954 Quarter-final 7th 3 1 1 1 2 3 Squad
  1958 Quarter-final 5th 4 1 2 1 7 7 Squad
  1962 Fourth Place 4th 6 3 0 3 10 7 Squad
  1966 Did Not Qualify
  1974 2nd Group Stage 7th 6 1 2 3 12 7 Squad
  1978 Did Not Qualify
  1982 Group Stage 16th 3 1 1 1 2 2 Squad
  1986 Did Not Qualify
  1990 Quarter-final 5th 5 3 1 1 8 6 Squad
  1994 Banned [13] Banned
Total Fourth Place 8/15 33 14 7 12 55 42

UEFA European Championship recordEdit

     Champions       Runners-up       Third Place       Fourth Place  

UEFA European Championship record Qualification Record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Squads Pld W D L GF GA
  1960 Runners-up 2nd 2 1 0 1 6 6 Squad
  1964 Did Not Qualify
  1968 Runners-up 2nd 3 1 1 1 2 3 Squad
  1972 Did Not Qualify
  1976 Fourth Place 4th 2 0 0 2 4 7 Squad
  1980 Did Not Qualify
  1984 Group Stage 3 0 0 3 2 10 Squad
  1988 Did Not Qualify
  1992 Banned after qualification[14]
Total Runners-up 4/9 10 2 1 7 14 26
*Denotes draws including knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**There was no third place playoff, but Yugoslavia was awarded a bronze medal[15][16]

Most capped playersEdit

# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Dragan Džajić 1964–1979 85 23
2 Zlatko Vujović 1979–1990 70 25
3 Branko Zebec 1951–1961 65 17
4 Stjepan Bobek 1946–1956 63 38
5 Branko Stanković 1946–1956 61 3
6 Faruk Hadžibegić 1982–1992 61 6
7 Ivica Horvat 1946–1956 60 0
8 Vladimir Beara 1950–1959 59 0
9 Rajko Mitić 1946–1957 59 32
10 Bernard Vukas 1948–1957 59 22
11 Vujadin Boškov 1951–1958 57 0
12 Blagoje Marjanović 1926–1938 57 36
13 Jovan Aćimović 1968–1976 55 3
14 Zlatko Čajkovski 1946–1955 55 7
15 Fahrudin Jusufi 1959–1967 55 0
16 Mehmed Baždarević 1982–1992 54 4
17 Ivica Šurjak 1973–1982 54 10
18 Safet Sušić 1977–1990 54 21
19 Milorad Arsenijević 1927–1936 52 0
20 Dragan Holcer 1965–1974 52 0
21 Tomislav Crnković 1952–1960 51 0
22 Milan Galić 1959–1965 51 37
23 Aleksandar Tirnanić 1929–1940 50 12
24 Vladimir Durković 1959–1966 50 0
25 Milutin Šoškić 1959–1966 50 0
26 Branko Oblak 1970–1977 50 8

Head-to-head recordEdit

  Positive Record   Neutral Record   Negative Record

Head coachesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ A farewell to Yugoslavia Dejan Djokic; April 10, 2002
  2. ^ a b c As of 1992 before the split of SFR Yugoslavia; for later data see Serbia and Montenegro national football team.
  3. ^ History at FSS official website, Retrieved October 4, 2012 (in Serbian)
  4. ^ Serbia at FIFA official website
  5. ^ News: Serbia at UEFA official website, published January 1, 2011, Retrieved October 4, 2012
  6. ^ History at Football Association of Serbia official website, Retrieved May 17, 2913 (in Serbian)
  7. ^ "90: 'The team was far better than the country' - The lost brilliance of Yugoslavia". June 4, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2017. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Yugoslavia and the breakup of its soccer team". Retrieved November 22, 2017. 
  10. ^ Merrill, Austin. "The Splintering of Yugoslavia and Its Soccer Team". The Hive. Retrieved November 22, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Kako je plavi dres - pocrveneo". 
  12. ^ "Kako je plavi dres pocrveneo". Retrieved November 22, 2017. 
  13. ^ Draw for 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifiers was made on December 8, 1991, however due to break-up of SFR Yugoslavia and consequent military conflict, which broke in early 1991, FSJ ceased to exist as football organization of the SFR Yugoslavia. Organization that remained based in Belgrade, Serbia, was excluded from taking part as FSJ or its successor due to UN sanctions. "History of the FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition (by year)" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved December 13, 2011. 
  14. ^ Suspended because of United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 during Yugoslav wars. Yugoslavia was replaced by Denmark, who went on to win the tournament.
  15. ^ Медаља из дома Хаџијевих сведочи да смо били трећи на Мундијалу (in Serbian). Politika. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Još uvek sjaji bronza iz Montevidea" (in Serbian). Blic. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 


External linksEdit