Team Profile: Serbia
Colours: Red shirts, blue shorts and white socks
Nickname: Orlovi (Eagles)
Previous World Cup Appearances: 9 as part of former Yugoslavia (1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1974, 1982, 1990, 1998). One as Serbia and Montenegro (2006). None as an independent nation.
Best World Cup performance: Semi-finals 1930 and fourth place 1962 as part of former Yugoslavia.
Coach: Radomir Antic
Most capped player: Savo Milosevic 102
Top scorer: Savo Milosevic 37
FIFA Ranking (Apr 10) : 16
This will be Serbia’s first appearance as an independent nation after previously competing under the flag of Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro. Their best performance at a World Cup was reaching the semi finals twice (1930, 1962).
They reached the final of the European Championships but their best achievement at international level was winning Olympic Gold and winning the World Youth Cup in 1987. In recent years the youth team has been the shining light in Serbian football
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Impressive performances gave Serbia top spot in Group 7 ahead of France and the team wrapped up qualification with a game to spare. The moment of glory came with a 5-0 thrashing of Romania in Belgrade.
The defence is the strongest part of the Serbian squad, Nemanja Vidic and Branislav Ivanovic command the backline to perfection and their attacking instincts at set pieces proved valuable in Serbia’s qualifying campaign. The two attacking midfielders Milos Krasic and Milan Jovanovic were exceptional on the wings throughout the campaign and their performances caught the eye of Europe’s best clubs.
Serbia’s weakness can come from midfield. Dejan Stankovic and Nenad Milijas played throughout qualifying and performed well but Milijas’ lack of pace was a problem.
Serbia also lacks a classic striker. The target man Nikola Zigic can have a game where he is not seen at all and Marko Pantelic produces more assists then goals and the lack of depth in this position could be a big problem for the team.
Radomir Antic is one of the most well known managers having taken the reign of the big three Spanish clubs. His appointment was greeted with mixed reactions from the demanding Serbian media and public. In the team’s first home game against Lithuania, there were only 15,000 fans which angered Antic. But as games went on and Serbia’s growing dominance over their opponents grew, the whole nation was behind Antic. He is like a father figure to the players.
Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow, Russia): The blonde haired winger was a delight for the Serbian public during the qualifying campaign. His electrifying pace, great passing and a precise shooting where valuable attributes to the teams play and having caught the eye of European footballs biggest clubs the player can only grow and grow as matches go by.
Milan Jovanovic (Standard Leige, Belgium): Electrifying pace, a great football brain and an attacking instinct has labelled the player as Serbia’s best at the moment. It was a joy to watch Jovanovic during the campaign; his excellent performances have seen many European clubs consider meeting his eight million euro valuation. He was Serbia’s top scorer with five goals.
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United, England): The rock and commander in defence gave the Serbian team trust in its back line. Vidic was unbeatable and coming up for set pieces with Branslav Jovanovic added an edge to the teams attack and with younger defenders coming up in the team, he helped them out perfectly. He will be the team’s leader in South Africa.
BEST FOOTBALLING MOMENT
Serbia’s best moment is yet to come. South Africa will be a great chance for this team full of talent to show the world what they have to offer
OFF THE PITCH
Famous For: Serbia is a leader in world team sports. Water polo, volleyball and basketball have given the country many happy moments.
Most likely to: Complain about the draw and being placed in a tough group again
WORLD CUP OBJECTIVE
Serbia will be a dark horse in South Africa. The team should get out of the group stages and from there on the journey to the semi finals begins. If they fail it will be nothing new for Serbian football.
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