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30 years ago today Croatia play USA in first football official of the modern era



ZAGREB, 17 October 2020 – Today marks the 30th anniversary of Croatia’s first official football match under the modern-day Croatian flag. 

On 17 October 1990, Croatia played the USA at Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium in front of over 30,000 fans which was a milestone in Croatian football, and one of the notable events of the crucial period in the nation’s history.

The United States was on a tour of Europe where the team was already scheduled to play Poland. Croatian businessman Jure Klarić financed the US$90,000 needed for the Americans to subsequently travel to Zagreb.

The match took place at the same time as the final of the 1990 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, in which several young Croatian talents played for Yugoslavia (Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker, Robert Jarni, Igor Štimac, Robert Prosinečki and Alen Bokšić).

Croatia went on to win the match 2–1 with the match marking the debut of the Croatian national team’s checkered jersey.

To mark the 30th anniversary, state broadcaster Croatian radiotelevision (HRT), will air a special 2-hour programme dedicated to it tonight. 

“The programme begins with a special show at 20:05, hosted by Stjepan Balog, during which we will remember how the match came about, who wanted to play in Maksimir, and who wanted to prevent the match from being played,” HRT said.

Guests in the HRT studio will be the protagonists of the match, Ivan Cvjetković, the scorer of the second goal, and Zorislav Srebrić, who was the director of the national team at the time.



After the introductory show, the premiere of the documentary Croatian Dream by the author and producer Andrej Maksimović will be shown.

The Croatian Dream is about the creation and understanding of the Croatian state and its recognisability through the Croatian national football team.

There will also be highlights of the Croatia-USA match.

Since that match, Croatia has appeared at 5 World Cups with their best performances a bronze medal in 1998 in France and a silver at the 2018 finals in Russia. 

In addition to HTV2, the special programme will be available via the HRTi multimedia service.

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