FIFA World Cup Underdogs – Serbia

Playing in a set-up that’s very much a reminder of Greece ‘04, whom grafted through the Euros, only conceding three goals throughout the whole competition, and winning each Knockout round by one goal to nil.

Not-so park the bus

Their defence include two very experienced former Premier League stars, Kolarov and Ivanovic, who will be crucial as leaders in the squad.

The Greece ‘04 team was reliant on a steely defensive line, whilst still having a goalscoring threat. Cue Aleksandar Mitrovic. The volatile powerhouse finished the second half of the season in fine form, helping Fulham gain promotion to England’s top tier.

Mitrovic’s physical presence means that even when not on top of his game, he is a handful for any defence. Nevertheless, when the striker is in the mood, he is quite simply unplayable, like a less-refined Didier Drogba.

A big-money midfield

Covering their defensive line is the powerful Nemanja Matic. He will arguably be the most important player on the pitch for the Serbs, as a key component in transitioning sturdy defensive periods into productive counter-attacks.

Serbia also boast one of the tipped surprise stars, Milinkovic-Savic. He has been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United in recent weeks, as well as featuring in an outrageous Guardian article, stating Real Madrid are preparing a £132 million bid. The 6ft 4 attacking midfielder was crucial in Serbia’s 2015 U-20 World Cup winning campaign, and will be looking to replicate his form on the biggest stage of all.

A sprinkle of potential stardust

Serbia also have a few Football Manager ‘wonderkids’ in their ranks, with Luka Jovic, Andrija Zivkovic and Liverpool’s Marko Grujic all looking to make a name for themselves at the tournament. Topped off with some well-recognised European league talent such as Tadic (Southampton), Ljajic (Torino) and Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) and the squad has plenty of options ready for any occasion.

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