In spite of the odds, Serbia won their group and moved on to the next round. They finished ahead of Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, and Azerbaijan, who were all considered favorites.

Most people agree that Dragan Stojkovic, who took over as Serbia’s head coach just a few weeks before the World Cup qualifiers started, deserves a lot of credit for this win.

Stojkovic is emphatic that his team plays attacking football, and the biggest strength of this Serbian team is the individual quality of their play in the attack, as well as their ability to create and capitalize on scoring opportunities; they scored eight goals in the games against their main group rivals, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.


Because they did not have a right back of sufficient calibre, head coach Stojkovic was almost compelled to play three central defenders and two wing backs. The 3-5-2 formation with two center forwards is a further variation (Mitrovic and Vlahovic). In that particular iteration, Lukic is taken off the field in favor of Milinkovic-position Savic further back.

Stojkovic will make an effort to improve the team’s defense and their ability to construct plays out of the back before they play Qatar. These are both areas of worry for the coach.

The former player of world-class caliber is adamant about playing offensive football. He is not happy with just winning. Instead, he wants his team to play well.


Dušan Tadić

Perhaps the best player at his position who is not currently employed by one of Europe’s top five leagues. It is far simpler to say “stop him” than to really do it.