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Catalonia national football team, a deep look

Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain consisting of four major provinces: Barcelona, Lleida, Girona and Tarragona. The community is bounded by France and Andorra to the north with its Capital in Barcelona, the second most populous City in entire Spain. In recent history the community has fought for independence of which they were almost successful in 2017 but their declaration for independence was waved off. However, they’re not cracking and they consider their community an independent state.

Catalonia, although not affiliated with UEFA or FIFA (meaning they can’t partake in major official tournaments like the World Cup or European Championships), have a national team to boast with. And not just any national team, a very good one comprising of fantastic talents both past and present, although these players are also considered as Spanish citizens and can represent the Spanish national team even in top tier competitions.

The Catalan national team are run by the Catalan Football Federation and they’ve taken part in over 200 games throughout its existence including friendlies and regional competitions. Basically, Catalonia made their football debut in 1905 and were playing against some Spanish clubs. Their first international outing was in 1912 vs France in Paris where they lost 7-0, their biggest defeat toll date. The Catalans got their revenge two years later when they defeated the French 1-0 in Barcelona.

The Catalonia team took part in regional games over 10 years from 1915 and won the Copa Princep d’Asturies back to back in 1916 and 1917 beating Castile XI in both finals. Catalonia won it on four more occasions after that and they saw legendary players like Samitier, Paulino Alcantara and Ricardo Zamora man their shirt.

SOME BIG GAMES…

Catalonia hosted the Spain XI at the then Barcelona stadium Les Corts in 1924 with two of their best players Josep Samitier and Zamora representing Spain. Spain ended up winning the game comprehensively after a brace by Samitier ensured the Catalonia team get mauled 7-0. This was the first-ever meeting between the Catalonia XI and Spain.

In December 1925, both Samitier and Zamora returned to the Catalan team that played against Czechoslovakia. Samitier was on the score sheet along with Sagibarba to help the Catalan XI come from a goal down to secure an emphatic 2-1 win. There was another fixture between the two seven months later with the same result but this time in favour of the Czechoslovakians.

1934 was a memorable year for the Catalan national team as they took part in a lot of games and got really good results in them. They hosted powerhouse Brazil who had come to prepare for the World Cup in June at Les Corts and surprisingly got a 2-1 win. Another fixture was held a week later and once again the Catalans didn’t crack, holding the Brazilians to a 2-2 draw in Girona. Days after the game, the Catalans took on La Liga Champions Athletic Bilbao and got a whopping 5-1 win. It was a year to remember indeed.

Catalonia got their first notable win over Spain in 1947 during the time of the struggles of General Franco era. Despite the banning of the use of Catalan symbols and the restriction if their freedom, the team got a fine 3-1 win over Spain. During this time big Barcelona names like Kubala and Luis Suarez represented the Catalans and in a notable friendly game vs Bologna where di Stefano was invited, Kubala scored twice as the Catalans got a 6-2 win. In recent years, the Catalans have registered a couple of good wins including a 5-0 victory over Nigeria in 1998 and another 5-0 win over Lithuania in 2000, both officially their biggest victories ever.

JOHAN CRUYFF….

In 2009, legendary football figure Johan Cruyff was announced as the new manager of the Catalan national team. The former Barcelona manager made sure his team get some fantastic results including a 4-2 win over Argentina in 2009 and a 4-0 win over Honduras in 2010.

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