We waited to see our national team at the European Championship. After a full 24 years, and for the first time as an independent state.
At first glance, it would seem that we can boast that we live in a time when the history of Serbian football is being written. In golden letters.
Until recently, we were willing to give anything (okay, not really everything, but you get the point) just to see ours Eagles in the company of the best on the Old Continent. To witness their competition with rivals from the “crème de la crème” circle.
Detail from the match Serbia – Bulgaria Srdjan Babić Miloš Veljković Nikola Milenković (Photo: Sportal/Aleksandar Dimitrijević)
It was so important to us that it happen. Because of everything (bad) we’ve been through. Because of all those Azerbaijanis, Estonians, Slovenians, Scots and, above all, Albanians, who carved traumas deep into our core, destroyed countless dreams and made us see our national team members as a bunch of losers. As people capable only of disappointing us day after day, capable of extinguishing hope and destroying the last millimeter of faith even in the greatest optimists.
And here it happened. Finally, it started for them too, and the sun shone on us.
It would be appropriate to rejoice, to jump with happiness, as befits when great and long-awaited wishes are fulfilled.
But… Always that damn “but”.
After almost a quarter of a century, the Serbian football team qualified for the European Championship, and this success was followed by a great celebration of the players on the field and in the dressing room.
However, something is not to our liking. It bothers us. It oppresses and torments us. It creates that strange feeling of discomfort in the stomach.
So much so that it didn’t even allow us as people to enjoy the fantastic fireworks over the newly opened and magnificent Dubočica stadium in Leskovac, in honor of qualifying for the EURO.
Not even to smile from the bottom of our hearts and proudly applaud the players and the coach as a sign of gratitude because they did what many before them did for almost two and a half decades. Their joy on the field was observed more in wonder. Many thought, and some even said: “What are you looking forward to…”.
With a draw with Bulgaria (2:2) in Leskovsk, the Serbian national football team secured placement at the EURO after almost a quarter of a century, which was the reason for a big celebration after the match at the “Dubočica” stadium.
Some kind of strange atmosphere reigned in the city in the south of Serbia, in the minutes after the 2:2 draw with Bulgaria at the closing of the qualifications and the verification of the German visa.
We are happy, but not really. We would be very happy, but we wouldn’t. It’s kind of everything in between. It’s not that. At least not completely. A real cocktail of mixed emotions.
Serbia is at the European Championship! After 24 years, we will see our selection at the continental competition, for the first time as an independent country. It is the epilogue of the qualifications, which we concluded with a draw with Bulgaria in Leskovac (2:2).
He digs that “something”. And it is difficult to define it and give it the right name. Although it should be an easy job, since the awareness of his presence is crystal clear.
Trouble? Probably. Fear? Very possible. Uncertainty? Perhaps the most accurate word.
Detail from the match Serbia – Bulgaria Dragan Stojković Filip Mladenović (Photo: Sportal/Aleksandar Dimitrijević)
Because Serbia finally qualified for the European Championship. But in these qualifications, Serbia left the impression of a team that is not well received in Germany. From this perspective, it is more certain that the status of a punching bag awaits her there, than the title of an elite boxer.
Dragan Stojković’s team has two defeats against the leaders of the group, Hungary, and has never managed to overcome the worst team in the group – Bulgaria. Double victories over Montenegro and Lithuania took him to the European Championship.
At times he looked very good, sometimes even dominant, but he was also very bad. It seems that with the Pixie Eagles, good and bad cannot go without each other. They are complementary, connected and interdependent. Like yin and yang.
Detail from the match Serbia – Bulgaria Srdjan Babić Aleksandar Mitrović (Photo: Sportal/Aleksandar Dimitrijević)
In the offensive part, lavish talent and quality were often demonstrated, the ability of individuals to destroy the rival with one move.
The defense remained a sore spot. The draft from the Qatari desert continued to blow, perhaps with even greater intensity. Mistakes are constantly made that have become everyday since the World Cup. What is counted as an inevitability even before the start of the game, regardless of who is across the street.
Detail from the match Serbia – Bulgaria Nikola Milenković Nemanja Gudelj (Photo: Sportal/Aleksandar Dimitrijević)
In short, the EURO was “checked” unconvincingly and unconvincingly. Concluded with the duel against Bulgaria. With the game quite below the level at which our selection should be.
And that’s bad news. It is anxiety, fear and uncertainty that do not allow us to look forward to the historical placement.
Detail from the match Serbia – Bulgaria Team Serbia (Photo: Sportal/Aleksandar Dimitrijević)
The good news is that there is enough time until June to forget these qualifications and correct all mistakes. To inject a new impulse into the team, so that the competition would be much better.
Simply, if the Eagles don’t find a way to get better during these seven months, they will get (even) worse. And then there is a new hook and line for all of us…
The coach of Serbia, Dragan Stojković Pixi, congratulated the entire country on qualifying for the 2024 European Championship in Germany. He pointed out that with this he paid back the debt to the nation due to the bad editions at the World Cup in Qatar, and that his heart is full – so much so that he doesn’t even have to be a coach anymore.
Serbia went to the World Cup in style. The self-confidence of the entire nation was skyrocketing after the Lisbon night, there was even talk of the final. In the end, a steep fall was experienced in the middle of Doha.
We are going to the European Championship in a completely different mood. Euphoria does not exist, optimism is at a low ebb.
Well, who knows, maybe that’s a good thing. Guided by the Arab experience, perhaps it is time to see the reverse epilogue in action. The absence of high expectations can have a positive effect, and in the end something significant is born in Germany.
Maybe the Eagles are only soaring there. If they are able to learn from their mistakes…
The players of Serbia worked hard in Leskovac against Bulgaria, but in the end they achieved a result (2:2) that took them to the European Championship, the first for our country in 24 years! Team captain Dušan Tadić pointed out that the ranking alone does not satisfy him and his teammates.
The well-known analyst Rade Bogdanović made a comment after the draw between the national team of Serbia and Bulgaria (2:2) in Leskovac. The Eagles went to the European Championship, but the former Atletico Madrid and Werder Bremen striker was not satisfied.
The Serbian national football team will play at the European Championship after 24 years, since our selection played 2:2 with Bulgaria, securing second place in Group G and a place in Germany.