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Anniversary of first Croatian international match in modern era

Croatia line up v USA in 1990 (Photo: Radiša Mladenović/HNS)

ZAGREB, 17 October 2019 – On this day, back in 1990, the first modern Croatian international match was played.

The first modern-day Croatia team met the USA at Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium on 17 October 1990 in front of over 30,000 fans. The match ended with a victory to Croatia 2-1 thanks to goals from Aljoša Asanović and Ivan Cvjetković. 

Croatian legends Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker, Alen Bokšić, and Robert Jarni were unable to play in the fixture as they were playing with the Yugoslavia U-21 side against USSR.

Croatia’s side in that match was: Dražen Ladić (71′ Tonči Gabrić) – Zoran Vulić, Saša Peršon (70′ Gregor Židan), Vlado Kasalo, Drago Čelić, Darko Dražić – Marko Mlinarić, Aljoša Asanović (58′ Mladen Mladenović), Zlatko Kranjčar (C) – Ivan Cvjetković, Kujtim Shalla.

The match marked the debut of the Croatian national team’s checkered jersey which has become one of the most iconic international football shirts.

 (Photo: Radiša Mladenović/HNS)

The match was considered unofficial by FIFA, because Croatia at that time was not affiliated to FIFA. Croatia was readmitted to FIFA on 3 July 1992. 

Since 1990, Croatia has appeared at 5 World Cups, earning one bronze and one silver medal. They have also appeared at the European Championships 5 times. Their first appearance was back in 1996 when they reached the quarter-finals. They also reached the quarter-finals in 2008. 

Davor Šuker is the nation’s current highest goal scorer with 45, whilst the most-capped player in history is former captain Darijo Srna, who wore the Croatia shirt 134 times. Miroslav Blažević holds the record for most matches as coach, leading the country 72 times from 1994-2000.

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