Transformed by the wizard Dragan “Piksi” Stojković, Serbia can allow themselves to see far in Qatar. First major challenge before aspiring to a surprise course: limit the potential of Brazil, to assert its own. Spoiler: the best defense will always be the attack.
To restore hope to their 13 million compatriots around the world and reconnect with their values, the Orlovi had to get up early. After yet another disillusionment with Scotland in the Euro 2020 play-offs, it was time for an icy shower on the side of the FSS, the Serbian Federation, renowned for being a mixer of coaches. Chosen to take over from a colorless and odorless Ljubiša Tumbaković, Dragan Stojković arrived on the bench of Serbia with his aura of a timeless former number 10, an unpredictable mouse with a tortuous career (“Piksi” referring to the mouse Pixie, cartoon character Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks). By shaking up the plethora of talent in his country in the name of the sacrosanct unity, that which must “save the serbs” as the saying goes, he has gone from ex-leader to guide.
From La Luz to Lusail
Opposed to Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg on the road to Doha, the White Eagles were able to roll mechanics, only dropping two points at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, on a misunderstanding. But to consolidate their status as a “World Cup team” (on the other hand, zero participation in the Euro since the dislocation of the former Yugoslavia), it was still necessary to bend the 2016 European champion, the Portugal, on its lands. Already full of physical and mental resources in Belgrade, to come up with two goals against the Selectionthanks in particular to a thunderous entry from Nemanja Radonjić, the Serbs prepared the ground for their reference matchfell almost a year ago to the day.
Here too, it will have been necessary Orlovi back to the wall from the 2nde minute after a ball from Nemanja Gudelj, who today passes behind Saša Lukić in the hierarchy, to witness the switch. Still inspired at the break, Dragan Stojković changed his tune and replaced Sevilla defensive midfielder with Aleksandar Mitrović, in full swing with Fulham, to associate him with Dušan Vlahović. You have it ? Finished playing. It is precisely the old bad boy from Anderlecht, a follower of peroxide crests at Coiffeur Michel in Brussels, who qualified the homeland of Emir Kusturica for a second World Cup, thanks to his placement and his impregnable aerial game. But then, in addition to a polymorphic and instinctive coaching, why Serbia, which finds Brazil and Switzerland as in 2018, would this time be able to imitate the Russian epic of its Croatian rivalrather than collapsing against Cameroon, in a Balkan style?
In the land of alpha males
In fact, coherence emanates from the Piksi galaxy, which whispers in the ear of its spine, and warms all this beautiful world to white. A 3-4-1-2 of the families focused on the offensive, which frees Filip Kostić, aka the piston capable of centering when stationary, while placing the regulator Sergej Milinković-Savić and the maestro Dušan Tadić, the champions of total treat with kajmak sauce, in the center of the chessboard. SMS is also now replaced by his brother, the dark Vanja Milinković-Savić, number one in the cages in front of Predrag Rajković. Beyond his flights on his line with the Torino, the bearded man with the physique of a nice guard had the good idea to graft hands instead of feet. Useful for breaking high pressing and finding your captain in the opponent’s half, in the middle of a no man’s land.
Lower down, the most reliable element of the three-man defense is none other than the left axial Strahinja Pavlović (yes yes, Niko Kovač’s best friend), a fan of pipe-breaking and manly, but correct play . Insufficient to ensure a series of clean sheets ? Whatever, with the Cerberus Mitrović-Vlahović at the reception of sweets of the hero of Madrid. Despite the tremors suffered by the Golgoths in their respective leagues in recent weeks, the fresh and beautiful duo is announced to be ready for the big day. Two gravediggers made in Partizan, aggressive and complementary, ready to deflect the brazilian spinning top of its center of gravity.
By Alexander Lazar