World Cup Weekly Recap


A couple of shockers, late drama, clutch goals: the third round of the group stage did not fall flat. The biggest surprise was obviously Germany dropping the ball against South Korea: Die Mannschaft just had to win two-nil (or more) to be safe, but despite multiple good chances, they did not manage to score and eventually the Taeguk Warriors took advantage of their unbalanced tactics and punished them, much to the jubilation of Mexico.

The World Cup Champion curse continues, as also Spain in 2014, Italy in 2010 and France in 2002 also were not able to get past the first phase after lifting the trophy. Continue reading

Serbia’s run in the World Cup comes to a disappointing end


Last night, at the Spartak Stadium, Serbia would either go on to produce their very own chapter within the 2018 World Cup book or they would go home in pure disappointment and frustration. The team they were going up against, was a fearless Brazil side, who were aiming to finish as the leaders of Group E.

Throughout the close fixture, the South American side were more positive on and off the ball and created a number of clear-cut chances whilst Serbia were happy with defending in their own half and aiming to punish the opposition on the counter-attack. To be honest, Brazil found it very difficult to be ruthless in the final third and it was all due to Serbia’s experienced defenders stepping up.

However, Phillipe Coutinho caught Serbia’s defence off guard for a few seconds, and his well-timed pass into the feet of Paulinho was followed by the ball going past Vladimir Stojkovic and into the net. Since then, the game became much more open, which instantly led to Brazil’s second goal in the second half, where Neymar’s cross from a corner was perfectly met by the head of Thiago Silva.

Serbia created some decent chances from time to time during the game, though, most did not bother goalkeeper Alisson Becker at all whilst the rest were adventurous attempts from distance. In the end, the side only completed one shot on target throughout the game, which seriously implies that they lacked pure attacking intent from start till end and had no desire to go for the victory.

In general, Mladen Krstajic’s men were not good enough and should have no complaints about whether they deserved to stay in the competition for longer or not. The only thing that the Serbian players and the manager himself can do, is return to their country and focus on the positives and the negatives as well as work around an idea on how to play proper football that will bring in results.

Many fierce football fans in Belgrade and around the whole world were quite disappointed to see a Serbia squad filled, with the likes of Aleksandar Kolarov, Dusan Tadic, Nemanja Matic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, failing to get past the group stages and could not living up to the potentials of being the dark horses to the win the World Cup like how Colombia, Croatia, Mexico and Russia have done.

Overall, if Serbia want to do well in the future international competitions, they need to understand that all they need is a squad filled with young talents and experienced leaders as well as a clinical forward that can come up with the goals for when his side need him the most. Once they get to this stage, without a doubt they will go on to be effective and dominant on both sides of the pitch.

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Brazil Through to World Cup Last 16


Brazil have made it through to the last 16 of the World Cup after beating Serbia 2-0 at the Otkrytie Arena. The five-time world champions began their campaign with a stutter but by the time they took to the field against Serbia – also contenders to qualify on the night – they were looking much more like their usual selves. The football was fast, fruitful and flowing – and suddenly fellow challengers for this year’s World Cup crown may be fancying a draw away from the South Americans for as long as possible. Neymar  put in easily his best performance of the summer so far, and helped to inspire Brazil to the top of Group E.

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Serbia Look To Upset Brazil

Unbeaten in their last 14 competitive matches, Brazil will take to the field at the Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow knowing that a draw is enough to secure a berth in the last 16 while victory over Serbia would secure top spot in Group E for the Selecao. Continue reading

World Cup Weekly Preview


The second round will end today with England looking to secure the qualification against Panama. Japan and Senegal will square off in the afternoon, trying to maintain the momentum they obtained after the surprise wins in their respective debuts. The main event will be Poland versus Colombia, where both teams need a win to bounce back to stay alive.

Let’s recap the already sealed verdicts ahead of the third and final match. Four squads have gained access to the elimination stage: Russia and Uruguay in the group A, France and Croatia in C and D one. Continue reading

Serbia suffer huge slip up as Switzerland takeover


After confidently beating Costa Rica in their opening fixture of the 2018 World Cup, Serbia were regarded as a national team that could be seen as one of the dark horses of the competition, that could go on to at least reaching the Round of 16. This was stated for the likes of Croatia and Mexico, who have also been impressive and exciting to watch during their group matches in recent weeks.

On Friday evening, Mladen Krstajic’s men had to make sure they would either pick up a draw or a win against Switzerland. This would have allowed them to stay in the driving seat of Group E, no matter what the result would have been in the other group fixture between Brazil and Costa Rica.

However, Serbia’s moments in dreamland were intercepted and crushed as they were brought back down to reality as Switzerland’s never-say-die attitude and mentality allowed them to pull-off a second half comeback with goals from Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri. The result now leaves Switzerland in second place on four points whilst Serbia are behind them by just a single point.

The Serbia players as well as the manager himself will feel that his side were hard done by, given that German referee Felix Brych completely missed out on two blatant penalties in each half of the game. On top of that, a lot of aggressive and forceful fouls produced by Switzerland’s defence and midfield were gone without any recognition or punishment after the free-kick was officially given.

The likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luka Milivojevic and Nemanja Matic were booked in the final ten minutes of the first half, whilst individuals such as Xhaka and Fabian Schar got away with a number of fouls. Most importantly, Mladen Krstajic made his voice heard after the game came to an end, where he mentioned that the referee should be put on trial and punished for his mistakes.

On the other hand, the referee should not be blamed for everything and VAR should have stepped up for when it was needed the most. Football fans either feel that the system interrupts the momentum of the game or it helps the match to be treated fairly, but the consistency of this method has not been convincing enough and the people who actually watch the replays of the game do not get the chance to communicate with the referee.

Overall, Serbia’s style of play and tactics as a whole have not been versatile at all as their direct and short passing approach has been proven to be easy to come up against. For sure, the side’s target man in Aleksandar Mitrovic was giving Switzerland’s defence a lot of tough moments, but he did not receive many clear-cut chances and nor did he go on to produce any chances for his team-mates.

Up next, the team will go on to face one of the favourites to win the competition, Brazil, who will be aiming to secure their position as the winners of Group E without any issues. There is only way that Serbia can get past the group stages, and that’s by beating the South American side as well as having a lot of faith that Costa Rica can hopefully prevent Switzerland from taking the three points off them.

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World Cup Weekly Recap

Brazil v Costa Rica: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

An action-packed week on the World Cup is the books and the tournament rages on with an uncanny amount of penalties and own goals. The first verdicts are already in: Russia and Uruguay have advanced in the group A after their wins against Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Croatia did the same in the G one.

While La Celeste has been doing it with minimal efforts, the other two teams, along with Belgium have been the most impressive squads so far. The Sbornaya is on an incredible run and is very well-structured. As for the Red Devils, who have more than one foot in the next phase, Romelu Lukaku keeps terrorizing defences, while Eden Hazard netted his first two goals in a World Cup.

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Serbia are a win away from qualifying for the knockout stages

Costa Rica v Serbia: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

After beating Costa Rica in their opening fixture of Group E, through a sweet free-kick from Aleksandar Kolarov, Serbia have a huge chance of qualifying for the knockout stages if they can go on to beat Switzerland on Friday night. This would allow the side to prepare themselves for the next round of the competition as well as not having to worry about the final group match against Brazil.

However, beating Switzerland is not a straightforward procedure at all, which Tite and Brazil found out the hard way as they were prevented the three points due to Vladimir Petkovic’s men being well-organised at the back and also dangerous on the counter-attack. Had the Swiss possessed a clinical striker or two in their squad, they would be seen as one of the dark horses of the World Cup.

Given that Brazil play Costa Rica in the earlier kick-off, Serbia can keep an eye out on the South American side, who they will be facing a couple of days after the Switzerland fixture. If Costa Rica somehow hold Brazil to a draw and Serbia go on to win their match, it would be the first time that the Orovi, have gone past the group stages since 1998 FIFA World Cup which was in France.

The coach is expected to keep things the same and will continue to utilise his 4-2-3-1 setup, where Luka Milivojevic and Nemanja Matic will be playing as the double pivot just ahead of the backline and will be controlling and dominating the game in the middle of the pitch. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will aim to cause havoc in the number ten role, just behind the lone forward Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Meanwhile on the flanks, Adem Ljajic and Dusan Tadic will be looking to give the opposition’s defenders a really hard time through their movement on and off the ball as well as the burst of pace into the final third of the field. Although both wingers are not seen as consistent goal-scorers, their ultimate intelligence allows them to provide more freedom and space for the full-backs to roam into.

In defence, it is unlikely that there will be any changes – which will mean that back four is going to be Aleksandar Kolarov, Dusko Tosic, Milenkovic and Branislav Ivanovic. The side have well-organised defence, and it is filled with warriors and individuals that have a lot of experience. Switzerland’s attackers will need to put in a lot of hard work if they want to get past Serbia’s solid backline.

For Switzerland – who are currently joint in second place with Brazil – this match should be seen as one that defines whether they are going to go past the group stages or will they be packing their bags very early. If Vladimir Petkovic and his players feel they can go on to beat this Serbia side, they will need certain players like Fabian Schar, Valon Behrami and Xherdan Shaqiri simply at their best.

Overall, Switzerland should not be underestimated, as they are compact and defensively solid despite the lack of goals they have in the squad as a whole. Though, Serbia are expected to get the job done and book their place into the Round of 16, as long as they stick to their same style of play and the players remain focus and consistent, like they were from the first minute of the game till end against Costa Rica.

Predicted line-ups

Serbia – Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Tosic, Milenkovic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Ljajic; Mitrovic.

Switzerland – Sommer; Lichsteiner, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic.


Serbia 2-1 Switzerland.

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Serbia & Milinkovic-Savic impress in World Cup win over Costa Rica


Mladen Krstajic’s Serbia have started their 2018 World Cup campaign in perfect fashion as they confidently beat Costa Rica through a sublime free-kick from Aleksandar Kolarov in the 56th minute. Had the side’s attack been full of drive and consistency in front of goal, they could have easily secured their first three points of the competition with 15 to 20 minutes of the game still remaining.

As expected, before the game had even started, Costa Rica would sit deep and look forward to making the most on the counter-attack, which allowed Serbia to enjoy the possession of the ball for the majority of the match and it resulted in more action being in the opposition’s half of the pitch.

Most importantly, Serbia’s backline showed how compact and defensively solid they can be during the crucial moments, which cannot be said about most of the other international teams that have already played in their opening fixture of the competition. Also, it cannot be easy for any central midfielder from the opposite team to get past both Luka Milivojevic and Nemanja Matic.

Meanwhile, the wingers in Adem Ljajic and Dusan Tadic were linking play up very well with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who was playing in the number ten role and just behind lone forward Aleksandar Mitrovic. The three attacking players behind the striker were proving to be too much to handle for Costa Rica’s defence, but the finishing and key decision-making simply let Krstajic’s side down a bit.

Milinkovic-Savic was at the centre of attention before and after the game as many football fans around the world were keeping an eye on the Lazio central-midfielder who has been linked with the likes of Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid in recent months. The rising talent who was born in Spain had a huge chance of notching a goal and an assist in his first World Cup appearance.

In the end, Mitrovic could not position himself well to convert Milinkovic-Savic’s pass into the back of the next. And, the youngster did not have the composure or ideal self-control to finish the one or two attempts he had from distance. Once the game came to an end, some were very disappointed at the fact that he didn’t offer enough whilst the rest witnessed a young player that is on the rise.e

Costa Rica only had three shots on target throughout the game, which instantly analyses on how defensive-minded they were and how little they created in the final third. Though, the team looked dangerous going forward once Joel Campbell made an appearance from the bench. Coach Oscar Ramirez should certainly build his team around the pace and movement of the 25-year-old.

Serbia approached the game very well, in a way that they would be effective on both sides of the pitch, which many teams have failed to do over the last few days in the competition. Krstajic’s men may have gone into sleep mode from time to time, but they have shown that they are intelligent on and off the ball as well as having the understanding of being in the right place at the right time.

Overall, now that all the teams in Group E have played their first match of the group stages, Serbia will be very happy that they currently lead the group with three points. On paper, the team only need to pick up a victory over Switzerland in order to qualify for the knockout stages, however, they will still be looking forward to facing Brazil as all teams have to face the strong sides soon or later.

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World Cup Weekly Preview


Two contenders will take the field on Sunday: Germany will square off against Mexico, while the Neymar-led Brazil will take on Switzerland, both looking to get off on the right foot, but their opponents are no pushovers. Today’s first game will be between Costa Rica and Serbia.

Two other top national teams will make their debut in Russia on Monday: Belgium will face Panama and England will challenge Tunisia. They will try to take advantage of favourable match-ups on paper. The slate will be opened by Sweden versus South Korea. Two intriguing teams in the second tier, Colombia and Poland, will day view on Tuesday, respectively against Japan and Senegal.  Continue reading