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The most incredible match in the history of the Euro Cup. Legendary comeback from the Serbians after 0-3 with ten men!

Date: July 23, 2024 Time: 01:16:44

In the second round of Euro 2024, the national teams of Serbia and Slovenia will play in Group C. Until the 1990s, these two countries were part of one – Yugoslavia, and now they do not even have common borders. But there is already a small history of personal meetings, which is adorned with one of the most incredible matches in the history of the European Championship.

Euro 2000 was the first Euro Cup for the Slovenian team. And, in fact, the first major tournament since the Slovenians first qualified for the World Cup in 2002. The small country celebrated a great success and hoped to surprise in the tournament held in Holland and Belgium.

According to the results of the draw, Srečko Katanec’s team was placed in a group with Spain, Norway and Serbia. More precisely, still Yugoslavia. But in fact, that team represented Serbia, which could be complemented by the Montenegrins. The Serbs were then led by the legendary Vujadin Boshkov, then a 69-year-old coach who had led Real and Sampdoria to the Champions Cup final. This was the end of his brilliant career.

The Yugoslav team for Euro 2000 included, among others, current Spartak coach Dejan Stankovic, former Dynamo coach Slavisa Jokanovic and forwards Savo Milosevic and Mateja Kezman, who played in the Russian championship. The tournament was especially successful for Milosevic, who scored five goals and shared first place on the list of top scorers with the Dutchman Patrick Kluivert. Then, the future Rubin legionnaire represented the Spanish team from Zaragoza in the national team.

Slovenia had its own stars in the lineup. First of all, the best sniper in the history of the national team, Zlatko Zahovic. Midfielder Milenko Acimovic also played for the Slovenians, who is in the top 10 in the history of the national team both in number of matches and number of goals. In addition to his football achievements, Acimovic is interesting because his sister Ana is married to…Stankovic. That year (a little later, in September) the couple’s first child, Stefan, was born, and Dejan had to fight with Ana’s brother on the soccer field.

The favorite of the group was the Spanish team, which occupied fourth place in the FIFA ranking. In June 2000, Norway was in seventh place, Yugoslavia was tenth, and Slovenia was only 46th.

However, in the first lap the sensations began. Spain began with an unexpected defeat against Norway by 0-1. Then the Boškov and Katanec teams entered the field of the Charleroi stadium, Belgium. For the Yugoslavs everything went wrong from the beginning. Halfway through the first half, they conceded the first goal from Zahovic, who headed from the ground after a cross from the left wing. And they soon lost Stankovic, who was replaced in the 36th minute by the current coach of the Serbian national team, Dragan Stojkovic. Dejan has not yet crossed paths with Acimovic on the field: his wife’s brother entered the field alone in the second half.

DEJAN STANKOVIC

Photo: Tom Honan/EMPICS via Getty Images

After the break, the miracles continued! At the end of the hour of play, the Slovenian team already led 3:0. First, midfielder Pavlin scored with a header after a Zahovich free kick. Then Zlatko himself scored a double. Another Yugoslav legend, Sinisa Mihajlovic, passed the ball to Zahovich, who ran towards the goal and took advantage of a one-on-one opportunity. When in the 60th minute the exalted Mikhailovich was sent off (he received a second yellow card for pushing an opponent), no one doubted that for the Yugoslavs everything was over in this match.

Nobody, except the Serbs themselves! It turned out that the miracles have not run out. Boshkov’s ten-man team pulled off one of the most unique comebacks in football history.

Midway through the second half, Milosevic, who came on as a substitute, sent the ball into the net from outside the goalkeeper’s area after a corner kick. Maybe the ball went out of bounds during the attack, but then there was no VAR. The referee counted the goal. Three minutes later, midfielder Lyubinko Drulovic completed a quick counterattack with a shot from 12-13 meters, ending the episode with two touches. And three minutes later, Drulovic dragged the ball into the area and Milosevic scored a double, scoring again from the goalkeeper’s area. A real mess was occurring in the defense of the Slovenian team, which had lost concentration. In a short period, between the 67th and 73rd minutes, the Serbians turned the game around in the minority. Furthermore, in the end Jokanovic almost scored the winning goal, finishing off the free kick with a dangerous header.

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In vain the Slovenians did not close with a majority. But it turned out to be beautiful football: the teams took a total of 26 shots, 18 of them on goal. An unforgettable match.

Video of the match of the Euro 2000 teams.

“Mihailovic’s sending off, as usually happens in these cases, did us no favors,” Katanec said after the match. If there are more of you, it doesn’t mean you are stronger. We will analyze what happened and look for where mistakes were made. On the other hand, the opponent deserves all the praise for not giving up. When the score was 3:0, I told my assistant that if we conceded at least one goal, we would be guaranteed a very difficult ending. Unfortunately, he was right. “No one ordered our team to play passively, but unfortunately I was on the bench and not on the field.”

Happy Boshkov, for his part, described his team’s match against Slovenia as an advertisement for football.

“We could be angry about the loss of two points, if we had not lost the match by 0-3 and we had not been left with ten men. In such circumstances, a draw should be considered a victory. I think the game became football propaganda. The match was technical and correct. Furthermore, everyone saw: if you fight to the end, nothing is impossible. Why do we play this way? The answer lies in the field of psychology. If we had played our game from the beginning, we would have definitely won. Probably, after all, there was a certain underestimation of the opponent. But our players only deserve criticism during the first half.”

Lineups in the Serbia and Slovenia group at Euro 2024

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In the second round of Euro 2000, the Slovenia national team lost to Spain with a score of 1:2, and the Serbians defeated Norway with a score of 1:0. Milosevic scored again. In the third round, the Slovenians and Norwegians tied 0:0. And Boshkov’s team played another crazy game. In the meeting with Spain, the Serbs took the lead three times, but each time they lost the advantage. The last two goals were lost at minutes 90+4 and 90+5 and in the end they lost 3:4. Spain finished first in the group with six points, while the Serbians and Norwegians scored four each. Boshkov’s team qualified for the playoffs thanks to its victory in the head-to-head confrontation. The Slovenians took last place and did not win once.

The Serbians were eliminated in the quarterfinals, falling in the skating rink called Holland. Milosevic’s last goal only pleased the center forward. The European Championship ended with the defeat of Boshkov and his team 1: 6.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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