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In the period between 1945 and 1990, Croatia was ineligible to field a separate team for competitive matches; local players instead played for the Yugoslavia national football team.
The modern Croatian team was formed in 1990, shortly before Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia, and by 1993 had gained membership in FIFA and UEFA. The team played their first competitive matches in the successful qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 1996, leading to their first appearance at a major tournament. In Croatia's FIFA World Cup debut in 1998 the team finished third and provided the tournament's top scorer, Davor Šuker. Since becoming eligible to compete in international tournaments, Croatia have failed to qualify for only one World Cup (in 2010) and one European Championship (in 2000)The team was named FIFA's "Best Mover of the Year" in 1994 and 1998, the only team—along with Colombia—to win the award more than once.