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Goran Vlaović (born 7 August 1972 in Nova Gradiškamarker) is a former Croatia football striker.

Club career

Vlaović started his professional career with Osijek in 1989 and moved to Dinamo Zagreb in 1992, before going abroad to play for Calcio Padova in Italymarker, Valencia in Spainmarker and Panathinaikos in Greecemarker, where he retired in June 2004. His biggest personal success at club level came when he topped the goalscoring charts of the 1993-94 Croatian First League, netting 29 goals for Dinamo Zagreb that season. The record remained unbroken for 13 years before Eduardo da Silva scored 34 goals for the same club in 2006-07. He also won the Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España with Valencia in 1999, as well as a Greek double with Panathinaikos in 2004.

International career

Vlaović was a member of the Croatian national football team for over ten years, between July 1992 and August 2002. He won a total of 52 international caps and scored 16 goals for the team. To date, he has remained the Croatian national team's second-best goalscorer of all time, after unreachable Davor Šuker with 45 international goals.

Vlaović made his international debut for Croatia on 5 July 1992 in their friendly match against Australia in Melbournemarker, during the team's three-match tour through Australia. After the tour, Vlaović only made four international appearances in just over three and a half years, and having undergone surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain in 1995, he was only able to make one appearance in the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying. However, he started to play regularly for Croatia in early 1996. On 13 March 1996, he scored his first goals for the team in a friendly match against Korea Republic, netting a flawless hat-trick in Croatia's 3-0 victory.

He was subsequently added to the Croatian squad for the UEFA Euro 1996 finals in Englandmarker, appearing in all of the team's four matches before they were knocked out by eventual champions, Germany, in the quarter-finals. In Croatia's first match at the tournament, against Turkey, he came off the bench to replace Alen Bokšić in the final 20 minutes and scored the only goal of the match in the 86th minute, thus becoming the first goalscorer for Croatia in a major international tournament.

Two years later, Vlaović was a member of the Croatian squad that surprisingly won the bronze medal at the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals in Francemarker, their first FIFA World Cup appearance. He appeared in all of Croatia's seven matches at the tournament, although only making one appearance over the entire 90 minutes in the semi-finals against France. In the 80th minute of the quarter-finals against highly favoured Germany, he scored the second goal in Croatia's 3-0 victory, which all but secured the team's place in the semi-finals.

After a year and a half of absence from the national team, Vlaović made his international comeback in January 2001, making an appearance for Croatia B in a friendly match against Romania, also scoring one goal in the match. He went on to make four appearances and score one goal in Croatia's qualifying campaign for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He was also added to Croatia's 23-man squad for the finals of that tournament, but was left an unused substitute in all three group matches as the team failed to qualify for the knock-out stages. He won his last international cap in a friendly match against Wales on 21 August 2002.

Honours

Club







International



References

  1. Vlaovic finds his form
  2. Asprilla keeps Parma in hot pursuit



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