Football is the most popular sport in Moldova
, a country that gained independence in 1991. The national association takes part in all competitions organised by FIFA and UEFA at senior level, as well as the majority of tournaments at youth level and in women's football. In an attempt to ensure the continuous, sustained development of football across the whole country, the needs and priorities of the 10 regional associations are constantly checked and solutions sought. The national team recently surprised many observers with a 1-0 victory over Austria during qualifying for EURO 2004. The Moldovans were also highly unfortunate to lose to group favourites the Netherlands shortly before the final whistle, but it was a result that gave the country great heart.