20 years ago Croatia burst onto the international football scene with an impressive performance at Euro 1996 in England. It was the nation’s first international tournament since gaining independence just a few years earlier…
Croatia opened that tournament with a 1-0 win over Turkey courtesy of a great breakaway goal with four minutes left from Goran Vlaović, a win that sent the country alight and one which laid the platform for the side to advance trough to the second round. An unlucky 2-1 loss to Germany saw Croatia exit, but those watching back then knew Croatia would be back. Two years later and the side’s bronze medal finish at the World Cup in France confirmed that.
Fast forward 20 years to 2016 and Ironically it will be Turkey again that Croatia will open their Euro campaign against. Can Ante Čačić’s team repeat what Miroslav Blaževic’s men done on a wet night in Nottingham?
Euro 1996 – 11 June 1996
Turkey 0 – 1 Croatia (Goran Vlaović 86′)
Venue: City Ground, Nottingham
Referee: Serge Muhmenthaler (Switzerland)
CROATIA: Dražen Ladić, Nikola Jerkan, Slaven Bilić, Igor Štimac, Mario Stanić, Robert Jarni, Zvonimir Boban (c) (Zvonimir Soldo 57′), Robert Prosinečki, Aljoša Asanović, Alen Bokšić (Goran Vlaović 73′), Davor Šuker (Dubravko Pavličić 90′)
Manager: Miroslav Blažević
So what are the players who took part in Croatia’s first Euro match up to today?
Ladić has moved into coaching and is assistant coach of Al-Ain Football Club in Abu Dhabi
Jerkan is a football scout these days
Bilić is currently enjoying cult-hero status in east London as boss of West Ham
Štimac also ventured into coaching. The former Croatia national team coach has just finished a stint in Iran coaching
The former Chelsea player is a columnist and writes about football and football-related issues
Till recently Jarni was a coach at Puskás Akadémia FC
Boban has a number of business interests and is taking up a role as advisor to new FIFA President Gianni Infantino
Soldo is a qualified coach but without a position at the moment. He is running a bar in downtown Zagreb
Prosinečki is currently in charge of Azerbaijan’s national team
Another one who ventured into coaching and assisted Slaven Bilić at a number of clubs. Currently not connected with any club
Also had stints coaching and was Croatian national team assistant coach. Currently not involved in football
The goal scorer against Turkey is now a TV football comments man with HRT. He will be in front of the camera for Euro 2016
Šuker is currently President of the Croatian Football Federation and is on UEFA’s board
Sadly passed away of pancreatic cancer in 2012 aged 44