Serbia Euro 2024 squad, predicted line-up versus England, latest odds and star players

6 days ago 15

SINCE becoming an independent nation in the summer of 2006, Serbia’s presence on the European stage has been non-existent.

In contrast to their impressive run of qualifying for three out of the last four World Cups, this Euros is the first time they have made the tournament stage.

Serbia’s hopes will be pinned on Alexsandar Mitrovic and Dusan TadicGetty

They have previously featured as Yugoslavia (1920-1992), FR Yugoslavia (1992-2003), and Serbia and Montenegro (2003-2006).

It was not pretty in qualifying, scraping through in second place on the final round of games, but they should not be taken lightly.

They possess some real firepower up top through Juventus ace Dusan Vlahovic and ex-Premier League cult hero Alexsandar Mitrovic.

And in manager Dragan Stojkovic, they have someone used to big occasions, having played in a star-studded Marseille team in the 90s alongside Eric Cantona, Didier Deschamps and Chris Waddle.

Manager: Dragan Stojkovic

Captain, leader, legend of the old Yugoslavia. Was named in the team of the tournament at Italia 90.

Key man: Dusan Tadic

His best years may be behind him, but the 35-year-old is still capable of controlling games in midfield with a creative spark that cannot be ignored.

Likely line-up

How they attack

Serbia are consistently one of the most difficult nations to predict coming into these tournaments.

They have undoubted technical quality through the squad — combined with the potential to implode at any point.

In attack, they will be slow and patient with their build-up play as they look to get the ball safely into the middle third and into more established positions.

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Serbia, in red, overload the central areas with seven players to beat the opposition press

When they do then get into the middle of the pitch they will typically change the tempo of their attacking movement.

The midfielders look to play longer and more direct passes out to the wings where they will try to get their more skillful attacking players 1v1 with his opposing player.

When Serbia do get into these positions they will commit players forward and flood the penalty area as quickly as possible.

The Serbia winger has the ball, and the fowards are making runs into the box for the anticipated cross

Serbian hopes will be pinned on the goal threat from two top-class forward players in Mitrovic and Vlahovic.

They both love to play in the penalty area, and they can create chaos with their clever movement.

Vlahovic drops off to give himself space from the defender before timing his run to attack the front post and finish with power

How they defend

In qualification, Serbia were flexible between playing in a 4-4-2 or a 3-6-1 system.

But in both systems they tend to defend with one striker pressing while the rest of the team back much deeper to cover space in their own half.

While they may counter press high, as a rule they tend to sit back deeper.

When the opposition play the ball long, the defensive line for Serbia will be tight and well positioned.

The midfield will drop back to be compact in front of the defensive line.

Hungary, in red, have hit a long ball forward but Serbia are well drilled to deal with these attacks

Serbia can, however, run into problems when they think that they can squeeze the game and press high against weaker opponents.

While they have a lot of creative and technical players they are not necessarily dynamic or quick.

All too often they can leave space at the back when they press which can be exploited.

Serbia’s press is not consistent and Bulgaria, in white, can escape with an easy pass over the top

The same thing can be true when the opposition look to play through the press.

Serbia can be easy to pass through and around as they struggle to adapt as the opposition plays quick combinations around them

Again the Serbia press is beaten, this time by a quick one-two

Prediction

The bookies reckon Serbia will come third behind England and Denmark in Group C.

However, they will fancy their chances of getting to the knockout stages ahead of the Danes or as one of the best third-placed sides.

Germany or Portugal could be then waiting for them in the Round of 16.

Latest odds

Serbia are 80/1 at William Hill to win the competition and 11/10 to finish in the top two in Group C.

Glam fans and Wags

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s missus Natalija is a qualified doctor who studied at University in Novi Sad. 

Mitrovic has two kids Luka and Nadja with his wife Kristina.

And striker Luka Jovic risked jail when he broke coronavirus quarantine rules to visit his model girlfriend Sofija Milosevic.

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Natalija Ilic is married to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic[/caption]
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Aleksandar Mitrovic married Kristina in 2021[/caption]
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Sofija Milosevic has a baby with Luka Jovic[/caption]
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Sofija is a model[/caption]
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