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In 1880 local Croatian young men began to play football in Zupanja
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  11/23/2007 | History , Sports | Unrated
Football in today's form was initially played on the Croatian ground in 1873

  Football in today's form was initially played on the Croatian ground already in 1873 by the English, who had arrived in town of Rijeka to construct a factory. However, the Croats did not participate at these matches. In 1887, a ship of the British Fleet anchored in the port of Zadar where the English sailors played a public football match in the presence of an English Prince of Edinbourgh, the Queen Victoria's son and numerous local spectators. Prior to the start of the game, among other ceremonies, the English national anthem was played. Sometimes later in 1895, the English geodetic and forestry experts, who stayed in Nova Gradiska, also played a public football match among themselves. Next year, in 1896, the English sailors played public matches among themselves in Trogir and in other towns.
Monument to the football in Zupanja
  In 1880 local Croatian young men began to play football in Zupanja. Since there were only nine of the Englishmen who came to Croatia several years before as experts for exploitation of oak forest, they invited local boys to join them. There is the first written record of local young men playing English football and having genuine Englishmen as tutors and team-mates. The football, which was played with in the matches around 1880 and later in the area of Zupanja, has been saved even until today. There are also records that the football was played by some schoolboys in the town of Zadar and a little bit later (around 1900) in Istria, Slavonia and other towns all over Croatia.
Zvonimir Boban the captain of the Croatian Football Team with the first football which Englishmen brought to Zupanja around 1880.
The first edition of the Laws of the Game in the Croatian language were published in 1896 in Zagreb. While composing newer and more sufficient rules, Dr. Milovan Zoricic directly approached the English Football Association asking for some professional assistance.
Hence, the Rules were published in 1908, together with the explanations and directions obtained.

In the beginning, football was played in the frame of gymnastics organization called "Croatian Hawk". The first Croatian sports club that emphasized the word "football" in its name was the First Football and Sports Club (PNISK - FF&SC) "Zagreb", founded in 1903.
Even before the World War I, in 1913, team of English Northern Universities "Northern University" toured the continental part of Europe and played in Bohemia, Hungary, Germany and Croatia. The team won first three matches, but in Zagreb, where they played against Croatian Academic Club HASK, they were defeated with the result of 0:1!

Immediately after the end of the World War I, team of "Hajduk" from Split played several football matches against teams of sailors from the English military ships, anchored in the Adriatic. In the first half of the year 1918, the club from Split defeated the team from the English military ship "Shelldracke". Moreover, they scored favorable results against other teams, although there where even professional football players among English sailors. Out of four matches against "Diamond", "Hajduk" ended three in its favour.

In 1914, professional coaches from England came to Croatia. James Donelly and Arthur Gaskhell, who were the coaches in "Gradanski", club that in 1936 defeated famous Liverpool with the result of 5:1, under the guidance of Hungarian coach Martin Bukovi, are certainly worth mentioning.

When the 50th anniversary of the Yugoslav Football Federation (founded in 1919 in Zagreb) was celebrated in 1969 in Zagreb, Sir Stanley Rous, the FIFA president attended celebrations. He had been a guest of the Zagreb's club "Dinamo" on several occasions, especially when Zagreb's football players played in the finals of the European Fair City Cup (today UEFA Cup) in 1963 and 1967.
Gradjanski has won against one of the best English team Liverpool 5:1, in Zagreb

Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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