Yugoslavia before the EM 1992: What if?

29. May 1991 Darko Pančev takes a decisive penalty. The striker indulges in a long run, starts outside the box, and then makes bulky into the right corner to 5: 3-winner against Olympique Marseille. Red Star Belgrade to win that day with young and talented players like Dejan Savicevic, Robert Prosinecki, Vladimir Jugovic, Sinisa Mihajlovic or Pancev the European Champion Clubs’ Cup – and faces a bright future.

But a rosy future was not it, the opposite was more likely the case. The reality was different. Already that evening in Bari, it was bad for the future of Red Star and the entire Yugoslav football. The country was already in decay and the beginning of a terrible war, which meant the end of the entire state.

One man is another man’s poison

On June 1, 1992, ten days before the start of the European Championship in Sweden, sanctions have been under the auspices of the United Nations because of the war launched against Yugoslavia – and thus excluded the country by all international sports competitions.

The war has changed everything!

Predrag Mijatovic

The national football team, then certainly acted as a co-favorite, had to watch and witness how one larded with Brian Laudrup and Peter Schmeichel Denmark unexpectedly the title won (2: 0 in the final against Germany) – because who succeeded due to the exclusion of Yugoslavia. Originally, the Danes had, in fact not qualified.

Yugoslavia itself goodbye then finally from the big football stage – in the history books is a 0: 2 Yugoslav against the Netherlands as the last game of a (pan-) team. That was on March 25, the 1,992th

Many players of international caliber

1998 won Predrag Mijatovic (l. 4. v.) (2 v. L.) And Davor Suker with Real Madrid the Champions League.

The sadness is still large in many a – even among the players at the time. “We had everything to become one of the best teams in the world, but the war has changed everything,” Predrag Mijatovic said in 2015 in an interview at the FIFA: “Those were hard times.”

Mijatovic know myself too well how a strike partnership Mijatovic / Davor Suker works. The Montenegrin and Croatian worked late 1990 in Madrid par excellence and contributed significantly to the fact that Real again managed to connect to the world’s best.

Certainly it was the best generation that Yugoslavia ever had.

Robert Prosinecki

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Somehow logical that the two had also worked at national team level well together. And what could muster for a team the Yugoslavs: Besides the already mentioned players there were other variables such as Alen Boksic, Robert Jarni, Dragan Stojkovic, Safet Susic, Slavisa Jokanovic or Srecko Katanec.

. “The Yugoslav league at that time was very strong, we could not even go in front of our 25 years of age in another country – and there was even no foreign players,” said Prosinecki remembered 2020 and stressed: “All this has helped the former generation – with security it was the best generation that Yugoslavia ever had. “

In the 1994 World Cup the team would have been on their zenith – and might have been able to achieve great. But if the World Cup was again found in 1990 in Italy the last tournament in which players from whole Yugoslavia in a team.

Only Croatia celebrates success

Yugoslav football has completely disappeared from the scene but not so the successor states have certainly boast their own successes. Above all, Croatia, in 1998 by Suker, Prosinecki, Boksic, Jarni and Boban was third World Cup and 2018 vice-world champion.

But Serbia (respectively Serbia and Montenegro or FRY) had lucid moments, although a real success was denied. Perhaps the best chance had it just unhappy in 1998 when Mijatovic & Co. in the second round to eventual semi-finalists Netherlands (1: 2) failed.

For Prosinecki but it is certain that “if the national team of Yugoslavia would stay together, they would have played at European and World Championship titles.” Whether that would have been so, nowadays, you can of course not really say for sure. What happened if?

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