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Serbia under Stojkovic set to entertan the world in Qatar World Cup 2022

Nick Wilhelm

Updated: Nov 01, 2022 06:51

Stojkovic’s Serbia set to entertain

serbia-national-football-team

Serbia have never seemed better placed to reach the last 16

They topped their qualifying group and are on a five-match unbeaten run

Stojkovic can deploy two clinical finishers in Vlahovic and Mitrovic

Serbia is expected to be a fascinating watch. The Dragan Stojkovic-coached team will be looking to show the rest of the world its talent after failing to advance to EURO 2020.

Progress in Qatar won't be simple because Group G includes Cameroon, Brazil, and Switzerland. Prior to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Stojkovic's team put up great performances, which they will need to duplicate and possibly improve upon.

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Serbia's qualification journey came to an unforgettable conclusion in Portugal. They won their group and forced Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal into the playoffs thanks to an injury-time goal from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Serbia appear to be in terrific form to compete in Qatar on paper. The team at his disposal is loaded with quality, and the coach is a true football great. If Vlahovic, Mitrovic, Kostic, and Tadic are all on the same page, Serbia will be difficult to stop.

The objective at this time, according to Milinkovic-Savic in an interview with FIFA, is to advance to the Round of 16. Serbia enters Qatar on a five-game winning streak and hopes to maintain the momentum after two remarkable victories at the end of September against Sweden (4-1) and Norway (2-0).

Serbia's Group G fixtures

24 November

Brazil-Serbia (20:00 local time, Lusail Stadium)

28 November

Cameroon-Serbia (11:00 local time, Al Janoub Stadium)

2 December

Serbia-Switzerland (20:00 local time, Stadium 974)

serbia-football

Stojkovic's approach and tactics

A footballing legend at the international level is Dragan Stojkovic. He participated at Italy in 1990 and France in 1998 for Yugoslavia, making 84 games and scoring 15 goals between 1983 and 2001.

After hanging up his boots, "Piksi" has worked in a variety of football-related capacities. In addition to coaching, he has served as the head of Red Star Belgrade and the Serbian Football Association (FSS). Both of Stojkovic's positions on the touchline before taking on the Serbian position were in Asia: Nagoya Grampus in Japan (2008–2013) and Guangzhou R&F in China PR (2015-2020). Stojkovic was appointed Serbia's head coach on March 3, 2021, which also happened to be his birthday.

A more defensive alternative sees Serbia line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with only one striker but an extra man in midfield alongside Lukic, with Milinkovic-Savic in a more advanced role alongside Tadic.

Although he has little experience of coaching in major tournaments, Stojkovic brings a wealth of knowledge from his playing days. His footballing philosophy, as he explained in a press conference at the end of September, reflects the player he was: “I’m a coach who likes the team to play attractive, inventive football.”

stojkovic

Key player: Dusan Tadic

Those who have faith in fate must believe that Dusan Tadic will win this event. On the first day of Qatar 2022, Ajax's fantastic playmaker, who will be 34, has every reason to believe he will make his experience matter.

With six assists in his first eight Dutch league games of the season, Serbia's captain appears to be at the pinnacle of his game. He is further solidifying his position as one of Europe's finest creators.

He got 16 goals and 22 assists in domestic football last season, compared to 22 goals and 25 assists the season before. Serbia's play in the last third will be crucial because they have two important finishers in Vlahovic and Mitrovic. Tadic's creativity will be required to complete that key final pass to go past the defenses of the opposition.

Dusan-Tadic

One to watch: Dusan Vlahovic

Despite the fact that his strike partner Mitrovic (who has 50 goals) is without a doubt Serbia's top scorer, the youthful Juventus forward might have a major impact in Qatar.

Vlahovic undoubtedly possesses all the necessary traits. After making a name for himself in Serie A and at Juventus, he will now want to display all of his incredible skills at the highest level of international football.

At the age of 22, he does not appear to be phased by Juventus' £70 million acquisition fee (which might rise to £90 million in bonuses).

His style goes hand in hand with Stojkovic’s philosophy: he is an explosive and highly effective player with a no-frills attitude. Like two Formula 1 drivers battling for top spot, Vlahovic and Mitrovic will want to outdo each other in terms of getting on the scoresheet.

dusan-vlahovic

Serbia's World Cup history

Serbia has never advanced past the group stages of a World Cup as an independent country.

When you consider that Serbia was previously a part of Yugoslavia, though, the country's historical achievements look completely different. They placed fourth in both the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay and the 1962 World Cup in Chile. Italy in 1990 was also noteworthy because it took place at a pivotal moment in the breakdown of the Balkan state and the final public exhibition of Yugoslavian unity.

In Florence, against Maradona's Argentina, the hopes of the Balkans were ultimately dashed in a penalty shootout. Stojkovic, no less, missed his penalty kick first before "El Pibe de Oro" himself did the same. However, the unfortunate Faruk Hadzibegic, who had declared he did not want to be one of the penalty takers, made the crucial error.

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