Route to Russia:
Serbia secured their place at the 2018 World Cup after topping Group D, winning six of their ten qualifying matches. Alongside Serbia in Group D were Republic of Ireland, Wales, Austria, Moldova and Georgia.
How far can they get:
Serbia have been drawn alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica in Group E. They will be hopeful of making the round of 16, however to do so they will need to address their defensive frailties. In the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Serbia conceded ten goals in ten matches, only Poland conceded more (14).
Despite securing Serbia’s place at the 2018 World Cup, head coach Slavoljub Muslin was axed by the Serbian FA in October 2017. Throughout his tenure, Serbian football officials had criticised Muslin for his team selection, defensive tactics and for his failure to integrate young players.
His successor, Mladen Krystajic, was announced shortly after his departure. Prior to his appointment as Serbia head coach, Yugoslav born Krystajic had not ventured into management. During his playing days, Krystajic had featured for Partizan, Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen. The 44-year-old was also capped 59 times for Serbia.
One to Watch:
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The Spanish-born attacking midfielder qualifies for Serbian citizenship through his parents.
The 23-year-old had an excellent season at Lazio, scoring twelve goals in 35 Serie A appearances as the Eagles narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification on their head-to-head record with Inter Milan.
In recent weeks, the 6’ 4” midfielder has been linked with Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus.