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A Guide to Football in Croatia
What is most common among the residents of Croatia is their united love for Croatia's most popular team sport Nogomet. This is not a new sport but the very popular game of football which is popular throughout the land.

Football gained popularity in the late 19th century after which the Croatian Football Federation was formed in 1912. However, it made a mark for itself at the international level in 1998 when the Croatian National Football Team was ranked third at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

While Croatia's Golden Generation put the sport on the international football map, their leading goal scorer, for the records, was Davor Šuker who retired in 2002. Football fever grew in Croatia with every hierarchical domestic league, Cup Tournament and national level football tournament. The tremendous popularity of football in Croatia soon led to the formation of various fan groups and clubs dedicated to football. Popular clubs include the Hajduk Split, Armada, Kohorta and Dinamo Zagreb.

Clubs like the Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split have gained most importance with support from almost 36% and 25% percent of the population respectively and these clubs are strong supporters of their national teams as well. While at the domestic level there have been violent relations between the two teams, they stand united at the national level.

The Croatian love for football is almost patriotic with nationalistic chants being common at many international tournaments. However, there have been instances where Croatian fans have not been able to hold back their emotions and have occasionally violated rules in their emotional outbursts leading to numerous penalties, fines, confiscations and even arrests of the violating public. All of which only proves just how important football is to the Croatians. While they are often spotted using flares and other prohibited pyrotechnic devices during games, an unmistakable observation would be their attire which is usually red and white as is seen on the Croatian coat of arms.

Most Croatian home matches are played at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb where Croatia has been defeated only once in 1994. The stadium has a seating capacity of 40,000 and there are plans of an expansion that could make it the world's most expensive football stadium. Other stadiums where domestic leagues are played include the Poljud Stadium and Kantrida Stadium among others.

A popular trend among football fans in Croatia is gathering up at pubs and combining their favourite sport with drinks. The trend has seen the sprouting of various sports bars and pubs that cater to football fans with a huge screen and comfortable seating to provide fans with an uninterrupted enjoyable experience of both drinking and watching their favourite game. While there are certain family sports pubs, some sections in other pubs are reserved for groups of families that are football fans.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Croatia holiday rentals and Dubrovnik vacation rentals.
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