Serbia Surprise: Eagles have early advantage in group play

Calvin Saunders
June 21, 2018

Aleksandar Kolarov struck a superb free-kick as Serbia opened their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in Samara.

Costa Rica face an upwards battle to qualify with Brazil and Switzerland to come in Group E following their loss to Serbia. Here is the line-up for the Group E opener at Samara Arena - Costa Rica: Navas; Gamboa, Acosta, González, Duarte, Calvo; Venegas, Guzmán, Borges, Ruiz; Ureña.

The most creative moment in the match came in the 56th minute when Aleksandar Kolarov curled a delightful free-kick into the top corner after a foul by David Guzmán on Aleksandar Mitrović, which proved to be costly for the Costa Ricans.

Both Costa Rica and Serbia will have set high expectations ahead of their opening fixture at the World Cup.

Campbell was proving a nuisance, and only a last-ditch challenge from Nikola Milenkovic prevented Costa Rica's substitute from getting in on goal.

They are likely to be joined at the back by the inexperienced yet highly-rated 20-year-old centre half Nikola Milenkovic, who has been dubbed the "new Nemanja Vidic" after impressive performances in the build-up.

The Roma defender made the crucial breakthrough early in the second half with a magnificent effort, and although Serbia missed chances to further extend their lead, they were not overly troubled by the Costa Ricans.

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In their total four appearances at the World Cup, Costa Rica have won their opening games three times.

The Ticos were the surprise of the last World Cup, sweeping through to the quarterfinals in Brazil before being ousted by the Netherlands on penalties.

Bunjevcevic, 45, played for the national team from 1998-2003, appearing in 16 matches.

Kolarov said he was not going to focus on the math of advancing out of the group stage.

Note that our website will be available a text online broadcast of the match Costa Rica - Serbia.

"Regarding Switzerland, we have analysed all three opponents and how they have played over the past few months", Krstajic said.

The Lazio playmaker was Serbia's most creative influence, although his blushes were spared by the linesman's flag when he fluffed a first-half chance after racing through on goal. Serbia failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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