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What line-up would Yugoslavia be able to field at Euro 2024?

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Nathan

What line-up would Yugoslavia be able to field at Euro 2024?

Yugoslavia's men’s football team has a rich history in the European Championships having competed in four tournaments under the Yugoslavia name. Since the dissolution of the men’s team in 2003, the nations under the banner have competed in the European Championships.

Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia have all competed as sole nations away from the Yugoslavia name. As it pertains to Yugoslavia, the country had participated in 1960, 1968, 1976 and 1984. Yugoslavia was the host nation in 1976 and finished runners-up in 1960 and 1968 to the Soviet Union and Italy respectively.

The last time teams competing under the Yugoslavia banner was at Euro 2000 where Serbia and Montenegro played as FR Yugoslavia where the team reached the quarter finals.

Here is what a potential starting eleven for Yugoslavia would look like if they competed at Euro 2024:

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak

The goalkeeping department is blessed with options for this Yugoslavia side. From Croatia, Dominick Livakovic could be an option to use following his impressive debut season at Fenerbahce. The option we are going for is Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

The Slovenian captain has been one of the best goalkeepers in world football for the past decade and is set to lead his national side to yet another European Championship. Oblak has made 36 appearances in La Liga this season and has conceded 39 goals. Oblak has kept 12 clean sheets this season. For his country, the Slovenia captain had made 64 appearances for the national side and kept 30 clean sheets in total.

The Defence

Right back – Josip Stanisic

The first choice in the full Croatian backline is German-born right-back Josip Stanisic. Stanisic is currently on-loan at Bayer Leverkusen from title rivals Bayern Munich and the Croatian full-back is on course to have a magnificent season. Stanisic is on course to achieve an unbeaten treble this season and the right-back has contributed to key moments for Xabi Alonso’s side. Stanisic has ten goal contributions this season for his club, as well as making 17 appearances for the Croatian national side.

Centre back – Josip Sutalo

For Football Manager player’s out there, everyone will know about Josip Sutalo. The centre-back was linked with a host of clubs during the summer window and the Dinamo Zagreb centre-back chose to move to Ajax that summer. Sutalo presents a great ball-playing defensive option for this side with a 91.8% accuracy across 21 Eredivisie games. Sutalo averages 3.8 interceptions per game so he could prove to be a vital asset in this side.

Centre Back – Dejan Lovren

Experience will be important in this back four for any hypothetical Yugoslavia side and this is why we have chosen Dejan Lovren. Lovren has vast experience and accomplishments in his favour as a former Premier League and Champions League winner with Liverpool. Lovren is currently in his second spell at Lyon, following a recent move to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Left Back – Josko Gvardiol

Josko Gvardiol completes the Croatian quartet across the back four. The Manchester City player was brought in for £77m from RB Leipzig and has faced critics this season, although in recent weeks his performances and goal contributions have helped his club on their way to an unprecedented fourth league title in a row. Gvardiol’s versatility will be important for this back four and the rangy full-back has now added goals to his game, with four goals in his last seven games for Manchester City.

The Midfield

Sergej Milinkovic – Savic

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic had been one of the most coveted players in Europe before his big money move to Al Hilal last summer. The Serbian international is approaching 30 yet his attributes are what exactly is needed for this midfield. Savic possesses great aerial ability which could provide an asset in the defensive and attacking areas. The former Lazio midfielder has 11 goal contributions in 26 Saudi Pro League games.

Mateo Kovacic

To provide defensive stability we have gone for the ever-reliable Mateo Kovacic. Kovacic is a four-time UEFA Champions League winner, three with Real Madrid and once with Chelsea. Kovacic can perform several roles across the midfield, acting as a box-to-box midfielder and performing defensive duties when his team needs. Kovacic will be important for the transition phases of the game due to his unique range of ball retention and progressive passes into the final third.

Luka Modric (C)

This starting eleven wasn’t going to be complete without the inclusion of Luka Modric so much so, he will be captaining this side. Modric is arguably one of the greatest midfielders of all time and even at age 38, his ability and work ethic is still that of a 25-year-old. Modric has played 30 games for Real Madrid this season and has provided eight goal contributions for his club side.

Forming a formidable midfield with Casemiro and Toni Kroos at the club level over the last decade, Modric has won five UEFA Champions League and has guided his team to finish second at the 2018 World Cup. Modric also famously won the 2018 Balon d’Or. The Croatian will be used for his wide range of playmaking and passing ability.

The Forward Line

Ante Rebic

Ante Rebic makes the forward line on the left-hand side. The former AC Milan winger is now at Besiktas and will more than likely be featuring for the Croatian national side at this summer’s European Championships. Rebic possesses great pace and strength which will be perfect for the likes of Luka Modric to exploit with his passing ability.

In 2019, Rebic was recorded as the second fastest player in the Bundesliga behind Achraf Hakimi after clocking up a top speed of 21.81mph whilst playing for Eintracht Frankfurt. Rebic is versatile across the front three and can play as a supporting striker if Croatia need be in the summer.

Benjamin Sesko

Benjamin Sesko is the standout choice to lead the forward line. Sesko has a huge amount of potential and a line of potential suitors for next season including the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. The Slovenian international is in his first season at RB Leipzig and has 15 goal contributions in 16 Bundesliga starts as he and Lois Openda have struck up a great partnership.

Sesko’s link-up play and aerial ability would be of great use to this team should the hypothetical team choose to go direct. Sesko will more than likely be making his international tournament debut for Slovenia.

Milot Rashica

Former Norwich City forward Milot Rashica completes our front three. Rashica didn’t have the best spell in England, but he has found his standing in the Turkish Super League at Besiktas. Rashica possesses great set-piece and crossing ability, which will aid the likes of Benjamin Sesko and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Rashica can play across the forward line, however the right-hand side is where he will be used in this eleven. The Kosovan has nine goal contributions in 24 league games this season.

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