Expected to head home after three
Serbia booked their passage to the World Cup proper after finishing top of Group D ahead of Republic of Ireland and Wales. There wasn’t too much trouble along the way either with their final tally leaving them with six wins, three draws and just one defeat. Worthy winners and they’ll be hoping to hold their ground this summer.
Getting out of World Cup Group E won’t be an easy achievement however as they have been drawn alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica. At first glance you’d expect The Samba Boys to dominate with Serbia finishing closer to bottom than top.
Bookmakers have them priced up as favourite to head home after three games with the groups topping their stage of elimination betting at 8/11. If they are to upset the odds they’ll need these three players to stand up and deliver…..
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Ivanovic will spark to life
The 23-year-old striker spent this season on loan at London club Fulham in the English Championship and we expect he has done more than enough to win a permanent move to Craven Cottage if he wants it and The Magpies are happy to sell. Played a big part in his employer’s bagging a place in the play-offs, scoring some important goals and ending with a count of 12, making him their second highest scorer behind Ryan Sessegnon on 15.
Mitrovic travels with confidence and he’ll be eager to boost his stock further with a strong showing on the major stage. His nation shouldn’t get anywhere near the prizes but if he can follow a good league campaign with a goal or two at this level his agent is sure to be busy over the summer months. 6/4 jolly to net more than any of the Eagles flock.
Mitrovic may have a swagger about his work at the minute but he can’t do it all himself and we expect Tadic to pull his weight in the final-third and provide the ammunition to help keep Serbia’s dreams alive. The attacking midfielder already has 13 goals in 51 games for his country, proving he can be relied upon to chip in when needed. Scored the only goal for his boys in a recent 2-1 defeat by Morocco in a warm-up match.
The 29-year-old is another who will be eager to catch the attention of potential suitors during the feast of football and the best way to do that is by getting forward as much as possible. He’s on the books at Southampton at present but it has been a tough season for all at St Mary’s and he may just fancy a move. Has been one of the better performers in The Saints squad this year.
One of the biggest names in the line-up but it remains to be seen if Ivanovic will be called into the squad at 34 years old and if he is we’re not too sure if he’ll see a lot of game time. The experienced defender has over 100 caps but his performances during qualification was criticised by fans. Despite serving as team captain since 2012 the former Chelsea man was stripped of that honour by manager Mladen Krstajic and replaced by Aleksandr Kolarov.
That could have two outcomes, either Ivanovic will retreat into a shell or he’ll fire back and aim to bow out in his last World Cup in fighting spirit. It would be crazy for Serbia not to call on the services of such an experienced defender and we’re not too worried about his performances in the build-up, the magic of playing in one final major international tournament is sure to spark him to life. Too good and too reliable to leave on the sidelines.