Serbia opened their World Cup campaign in the best possible manner, as they managed to get a win over them with a 3:2 result last Wednesday in Belgrade.
They had some difficulties at the start, as they conceded in the 18th minute, but managed to level up in the last minutes of the first part after a goal scored by Vlahovic. The hosts appeared much sharper at the finish when the match moved to the second, successfully scoring two more over Mitrovic in the 69th and the 75th minute, showing that they need very little to be threatening when needed.
However, they provided the Irish with a chance for a comeback when they conceded a goal in the 86th after a rookie mistake of the defense, but luckily, the guests didn’t have the strength for another one.
The hosts miss left-back Kolarov (94/11, Inter), central-back Maksimovic (25/0, Napoli), midfielders Gacinovic (23/2, Hoffenheim), Ljajic (47/9, Besiktas), compared to previous call-up.
Portugal met the expectations in their first match with Azerbaijan, as they come with a 1:0 victory, playing as hosts on a neutral location.
The “hosts” took the lead first in the 36th after Medvedev had a misfortune to score an own goal, but honestly speaking, they deserved much more, as they were in complete control over the encounter, and it was quite surprising that they failed to score at least one more time.
Still, they did show some proper lack of attacking movement back then, however, neither didn’t need to show much more than what they did, knowing they are ahead of a difficult schedule.
The Portuguese will miss goalkeeper Patricio (92/0, Wolves), defenders Pepe (113/7, Porto), Guerreiro (45/2, Dortmund), midfielders Cavalho (66/4, Betis), and forwards Trincao (6/0, Barcelona) and Paulinho (3/2, Sporting) compared to previous call-up.
The positive atmosphere among the hosts
Even though Serbia is entering this clash as a serious underdog, a newly appointed head coach brought some positive vibes into the squad. The hosts certainly have high expectations to meet, and even though their defeat is looking realistic throughout the community, I am positive that they have the means and capacity to be effective at least once, and make this clash with Portuguese as interesting as it can possibly be.