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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 19:27 GMT
Balkan fans cheer dead country
Yugoslav players in Euro 2000 match against Holland
The new team has kept the old Yugoslav strip

Football fans in Serbia and Montenegro have made clear their feelings towards the change in name of their country.

Throughout the game, fans chanted 'Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia'

At the team's first international football game under its new title, supporters chanted "Yugoslavia" instead of the less-than-catchy "Serbia and Montenegro".

Last week, Yugoslavia was formally dissolved and replaced with a union between its two remaining republics.

The television trails made that clear, so too did the commentators and the match graphics and, for that matter, the scoreboard.

This was a Euro 2004 qualifier between Serbia and Montenegro and Azerbaijan but, as the team stepped on to the pitch, it became clear this has so far been a change in nothing but name.

No vintage performance

The players wore the old Yugoslav strip. The Yugoslav national anthem was sung. Throughout the game, fans chanted "Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia".

Nikola Lazetic of Serbia and Montenegro is tackled by Kemal Guliyev of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan dented the new country's ambition to qualify

Football's governing bodies approved the change of name to Serbia and Montenegro just a day before the match, but they said that - since the country so far has no national flag nor emblems - the old kit would do for now.

If it was a historic day for a football association that has been in existence for the best part of a century, fans here say it was anything but a vintage performance.

The game ended 2-2. Azerbaijan, coming from two goals down, notched up their first point of the qualifiers.

Europe's newest country has made its life difficult if it wishes to qualify for Euro 2004.

Have your say

For the nation and for the team, this name change is long overdue. For us second generation Serbs born in the UK, the new name is a more accurate description of our affiliation and passion for our motherland. I just hope they go further, ditch that 'compromised' upside-down Dutch flag, and rightfully reinstate the Serbian/Montenegrin red, blue, white tricolour, and the rightful pre-communist anthem at the forthcoming fixtures at both sporting, and international arenas.
Milorad Sijan, UK

I was born and raised in Yugoslavia. No politician, whether it's Milosevic, Djindjic or Djukanovic, is going to tell me how to cheer for my country. It's Yugoslavia all the way.
Ilija Gromovnik, USA

I'll shout for Azerbaijan!!
Chris, Wales

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See also:

05 Feb 03 | Media reports
25 Jan 03 | From Our Own Correspondent
15 Mar 02 | Media reports
15 Mar 02 | Europe
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