Football is the number one sport in Macedonia, closely followed by handball, volleyball, basketball and swimming. In 1994, following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, the newly independent Macedonia gained a creditable draw in its first ever international, holding reigning European Champions Denmark to a 1-1 stalemate. The national team has also recorded some other noteworthy results, including a 3-2 victory at home to Ireland, and draws away to Turkey (3-3) and England (2-2). These games were all qualifiers for official competitions (European Championship or FIFA World Cup). The most famous Macedonian players - Darko Pancev (Red Star Belgrade, Inter Milan), Ilija Najdoski (Red Star Belgrade), Dragen Kanatiarovski (Red Star Belgrade), Toni Micevski (Hansa Rostock, Germany) and Toni Savevski (AEK Athens) - have all retired. Today's stars are Sasa Ciric (1. FC Nuremberg, Germany) and Gjorgi Hristov (NEC Nijmegen, Holland).
On 15 October 2002, the Goal Bureau approved a financial coninto cover the cost of extending the technical centre in Strumica. As well as a small stadium, the centre will boast a number of training pitches, floodlighting and a building with dressing rooms, conference rooms and a small cafeteria. The Strumica region is a well-known hotbed for football. Countless numbers of boys and girls play football on the streets, in school playgrounds or in public areas. This centre should also allow activities to be increased and improved. The main objective is to attract youngsters to football instead of to vices such as alcohol, drugs etc.