A lot should be familiar to football fans about Serbia as they head into their first World Cup in eight years. They’re playing their usual brand of attacking football (Serbia scored the highest number of goals in the qualification stages, 20). The squad includes many talented players, enthusiastic youth and well-versed veterans. And despite all this the team still seems to be in turmoil. Manager Slavoljub Muslin was replaced half through the campaign with Mladen Krstajic.
Perhaps the team doesn’t contain quite the same number of world famous players as in 2010. But the Serbs have a good football tradition, are well motivated and will be looking to make a powerful impression at this World Cup.
– Star players: Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov
– FootballCoin stars:
Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) – 16,081.91 seasonal points (Pro), 4,614.35 points (Easy)
Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit Saint Petersburg) – 4,276.35 seasonal points (Easy)
– Coach: Mladen Krstajić
– Group: E
– Group fixtures:
Sun June 17: Costa Rica – Serbia, Samara, 1pm
Fri June 22: Serbia – Switzerland, Kaliningrad, 7pm
Wed June 27: Serbia – Brazil, Moscow (Spartak), 7pm
Serbia will be looking to advance from their group. Brazil look good for finishing first. But Serbia are pretty evenly matched with their other two opposition teams Costa Rica and Switzerland. Experience and a well known iron will could carry the Serbs toward the knockout stages.
Goalkeeper: Vladimir Stojkovic, Predrag Rajkovic, Marko Dmitrovic
Defenders: Aleksandar Kolarov, Antonio Rukavina, Milan Rodic, Branislav Ivanovic, Uros Spajic, Milos Veljkovic, Dusko Tosic, Nikola Milenkovic
Midfielders: Nemanja Matic, Luka Milivojevic, Marko Grujic, Dusan Tadic, Andrija Zivkovic, Filip Kostic, Nemanja Radonjic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Adem Ljajic
Forwards: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Aleksandar Prijovic, Luka Jovic
– World Cup history: 2006 (as Serbia and Montenegro), 2010, 2018
(Note that we haven’t included Yugoslavia’s World Cup performances)