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Serbia to head to the World Cup with realistic expectations

Serbia to head to the World Cup with realistic expectations

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FIFA World Cup 2018. (Photo: Twitter/@FIFAWorldCup)
Belgrade, June 5 (IANS) Serbia, ranked 35th in the FIFA world rankings, are a quite young team, given that they have only played as an independent nation since 2006 following the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro.
However, with their previous record as part of Serbia and Montenegro or even prior to that, Yugoslavia, Serbian football has been a key part of the World Cup. The team have been to the World Cup 11 times, and twice finished in fourth place, reports Xinhua news agency.
Serbia's last appearance was back in 2010 in South Africa. For Serbia though, the journey ended in frustration after the group stage. However they did manage to beat Germany in their opening match.
Serbia were comfortable in qualification and one of their star players Aleksandar Kolarov was excellent in crucial moments.
Serbia will face Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica in their group. Getting out of the group won't be impossible, but Serbia will have to be very pragmatic about their chances. Taking over the team after his predecessor's resignation, 44-year-old coach Mladen Krstajic found it difficult initially.
In four international friendlies, the team collected two wins, one loss and one draw. They defeated both Nigeria and China 2-0, lost to Morocco 1-2 and tied 1-1 with South Korea.
In the defeat to Morocco, Krstajic experimented with a 4-3-3 formation, which turned out to be unsuccessful. He then reverted to the familiar 4-2-3-1 in the next match, and won 2-0.
Most of the Serbian national team's players are currently playing in major European leagues, including their 29-year-old star Nemanja Matic, who is indispensable in the Manchester United midfield.
Southampton's midfielder Tusan Tadic, has 51 caps and 13 goals for Serbia, and contributes a lot at the offensive end.
Apart from him, rising star Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is currently at Fulham on loan from Newcastle United, appears to be irreplaceable for his national team. With 35 caps, the 23-year-old has scored 13 goals, making him the most efficient scorer for Serbia.
Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov serve as the team's previous and new captains. The 34-year-old former Chelsea right-back and the former Manchester City left-sided defender, are both competent in different positions in the defence.
--IANS
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(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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