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World Cup: Serbia team profile

Serbia are getting ready to play in their second consecutive World Cup and could be one of those teams who cause a few surprises along the way given how good they were in qualifying.

They topped their qualifying group ahead of Portugal and played some decent football and will now hope to be able to make waves at the tournament.

Since being known as just Serbia following the 2006 World Cup, they haven't ever progressed from the group stages of a tournament and will be looking to try and break that duck this time around in Qatar.

Group G is where they will be found and they can be backed at 11/10 to progress into the knockout stages of the competition.

What:World Cup
Where:Qatar
When:20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watch:All matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV
Odds:Brazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Argentina 7/1, Spain 8/1

What is Serbia's World Cup record?

Since Serbia and Montenegro was split into two, Serbia on its own has qualified for two of the last three World Cups.

In South Africa 2010, they finished bottom of Group D, despite an impressive 1-0 win against a Germany side who would go on to reach the semi-finals - losses against Ghana and Australia scuppered their chances of further progress.

After failing to qualify for Brazil 2014, they went to Russia four years ago and had a similar record to 2010 - one win and two losses.

PositionYear
Group stage2010, 2018

How did Serbia qualify?

Serbia came top of Group A after remaining unbeaten in eight matches with Euro 2016 winners Portugal having to settle for second place.

They only managed to keep one clean sheet in those eight matches but always had enough in attack to defeat their opponents and the fight to finish top went to a final round shootout.

Serbia overturned Portugal's one-goal advantage in Lisbon with Aleksandar Mitrovic's goal proving decisive.

They won two and drew one of their four Nations League matches since.

Who is in Serbia's group?

On paper, Group G looks potentially tricky for Serbia, with five-time winners Brazil, Switzerland, and Cameroon in the mix.

Serbia's first match comes against Brazil on 24th November and they are priced at 6/1 to win, with the Selecao 1/2 and the draw available at 3/1.

Cameroon come next on 28th November, before a final group stage clash against Switzerland on 2nd December - the Swiss won in Russia 2-1 the last time these two sides met in the group stages of a tournament.

Related World Cup Group G News

World Cup - Football: Group G preview

World Cup - Football: Brazil team profile

World Cup - Football: Cameroon team profile

World Cup - Football: Switzerland team profile

Who is Serbia's manager?

The man at the helm currently is the 57-year-old Dragan Stojkovic, who has been in charge of Serbia since March 2021.

After a playing career that saw him earn 84 caps with Yugoslavia and win the Yugoslav First League with Red Star Belgrade, Stojkovic's coaching career has been varied.

He spent five years in Japan with Nagoya Grampus Eight, winning over half of his games in charge and leading them to the J1 League title in 2010.

Then, he had a four-year spell in China with Guangzhou before being named Serbia boss last year. He has won 11 of 18 games in charge - a win rate of just over 61 per cent.

Who is Serbia's star player?

There is talent littered across the Serbian ranks, but Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is the key man.

He was the top scorer in their qualification group with eight goals and has a knack of scoring vital goals for his country - the strike against Portugal being the key example.

There is plenty of competition for places and Mitrovic isn't actually guaranteed a start given Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic and Fiorentina's Luka Jovic are likely to be in the squad, but the Cottagers frontman has proven his worth several times before

He can be backed at 66/1 to finish the tournament as top goalscorer.

Who is Serbia's breakout star?

At the age of just 21, Strahinja Pavlovic has already become a regular in the Serbian line-up, winning 20 caps and scoring one goal.

He is currently at RB Salzburg and the clubs under the Red Bull umbrella have a tendency of producing superstar footballers.

Pavlovic is a strong and physically imposing left-footed defender who also loves to drive forward with the ball - he is the prototype for a modern defender in football.

What is Serbia's predicted line-up and tactics?

3-4-1-2: Rajkovic; Stefan Mitrovic, Veljkovic, Pavlovic; Milenkovic, Mladenovic, Milinkovic-Savic, Nemanja Gudelj; Dusan Tadic; Vlahovic, Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Serbia's style of football has traditionally been very attacking under Stojkovic, as they scored 18 goals in eight qualification games.

In their recent four Nations League matches, they found the net seven times and with the amount of attacking talent in their ranks, they will give the likes of Brazil a tough time.

Defensively is where they can sometimes falter, but all those ingredients mean that they should be an exciting team to watch and with the likes of Jovic, Filip Kostic, and Filip Djuricic around the squad too, they do have a good chance of progress.

How far can Serbia go in Qatar?

Looking at Serbia's squad, there is no reason why they cannot make the knockout stages with the ability around the camp.

However, Group G is probably the most "Group of Death" four-way in the tournament, so the task at hand has been made tougher.

Brazil are likely to be heavy favourites to win the group, but beyond them there seems to be little to separate Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

What doesn't help Serbia is their lack of experience going deep into tournaments - they have never advanced beyond the group stage in their current iteration and you have to go back to 1998 when they were known as Yugoslavia for the last time they reached the last-16.

Getting out of the group will be the minimum aim for Serbia in Qatar, particularly given they have several players regarded at the peak of their powers.

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