There may have been other concerns in the member nations of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but their football team never really hit the heights that it had the potential to. A quick look at the member nations brings thoughts to mind of the great players currently in the national teams, and raises a compelling theoretical question: if historical and contemporary disputes could be set aside, how good would a Yugoslavian football team be today?
The six member nations of the Yugoslavian football were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Nowadays those teams are littered with fantastic players that ply their trade across Europe’s top leagues. Assembling a first eleven from those countries gives a team that would stand up against any International side in the world. I’ve opted for an old-fashioned 4-4-2, though the quality of the forwards that have had to be benched as a result has made this a debatable decision.
GK: Samir Handanovic (Inter and Slovenia)
DF: Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United and Serbia)
DF: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea and Serbia)
RB: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow and Croatia)
LB: Aleksander Kolarov (Manchester City and Serbia)
RM: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk and Croatia)
MF: Luka Modric (Real Madrid and Croatia)
MF: Zvjezdan Misimović (Dynamo Moscow and Bosnia and Herzegovina)
LM: Miralem Pjanic (Roma and Bosnia and Herzegovina)
FW: Edin Dzeko (Manchester City and Bosnia and Herzegovina)
FW: Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina and Montenegro)
This may be a little weighted towards the Premier League, as it’s tricky to keep up with every player from the former Yugoslavia playing across Europe, but what a team it is! It also misses out some excellent players: Vucinic, Jelavic, Mandzukic, Subotic, Krasic, Krancjar, Eduardo...who knows how good it could be if Macedonia started pulling their weight a little more.
The highest ranked individual former Yugoslavian Republic nation is Croatia at 9th. Adding in the talent above, not least the brutish Serbian defenders, should push this team into the upper reaches of the rankings. They would of course have to dislodge England from 3rd at some stage, and in thumping Macedonia 5-0 we’ve already dealt the former Yugoslavian countries a body blow. However I would feel less confident about our chances against the team above.
image: © funnky1opti