In the mid to late 1900’s, Yugoslavia was a regular fixture in the FIFA World Cup.
The present-day Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Kosovo and Macedonia were all once part of the collective country.
Despite failing to lift the World Cup during their time, Yugoslavia participated in eight competitions, finishing third in the inaugural World Cup in 1930. They also finished fourth in 1962 and in their final appearance in 1990, they were eliminated in the quarterfinal.
Looking at the countries they are divided into now, the sight of having a Yugoslavia team represented in the 2018 FIFA World Cup should be a very intriguing squad, and it would definitely be favourites to win the title.
Here’s a look at how that starting XI could look like in a 4-4-2 formation if Yugoslavia was still around today.
GOALKEEPER – Jan Oblak from Slovenia
Arguably one of the best goalkeepers in football today, Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak will be the undoubted number one keeper for Yugoslavia in this year’s World Cup.
At 25 years old, Oblak has the size, intelligence and movement that challenges the best that football has to offer, and there is little to doubt that he is still improving.
Honourable mentions are Danijel Subasic from Croatia, Asmir Begovic from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
DEFENDERS – Sime Vrsaljko from Croatia, Dejan Lovren from Croatia, Stefan Savic from Montenegro and Branislav Ivanovic from Serbia
A plethora of players could make up the defensive line for Yugoslavia, but these four names quickly come to mind.
Only Sime Vrsaljko has not played in the Premier League, but he is definitely one of the stars of Atletico Madrid. Dejan Lovren plies his trade with Liverpool, while Branislav Ivanovic currently plays for Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg.
Honourable mentions are Matija Nastasic from Serbia, Aleksander Kolarov from Serbia and Sead Kolasinac from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
MIDFIELDERS – Ivan Rakitic from Croatia, Luka Modric from Croatia, Nemanja Matic from Serbia and Miralem Pjanic from Bosnia and Herzegovina
These four players are certainly the top choices to man Yugoslavia’s midfield in the FIFA World Cup as they are also the big names in their respective clubs.
Ivan Rakitic is a very capable midfield presence in Barcelona, while Luka Modric is one of the many superstars in Real Madrid. Nemanja Matic leads the middle of the pitch for Manchester United, while Miralem Pjanic has won trophies with Juventus in the Serie A.
Thesee players are capable of carrying the teams on their backs when needed and in a stacked FIFA World Cup, few would bet against them if they all played together.
Honourable mentions are Mateo Kovacic from Croatia, Marcelo Brozovic from Croatia and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Serbia.
FORWARDS – Edin Dzeko from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ivan Perisic from Croatia
Two capable forwards in the line-up would definitely complete this dream of a squad and Edin Dzeko is an undoubted favourite in the starting XI for Yugoslavia in the FIFA World Cup.
Equally as talented alongside is Ivan Perisic who has been a key player in Inter Milan and should also find goals in this talented national squad.
Honourable mentions are Mario Mandzukic from Croatia, Stevan Joventic from Montenegro and Dusan Tadic from Serbia.