Only the coach and the footballers in Leskovac were looking forward to the point against Bulgaria: “The Eagles” took off (too) early, the real challenges are yet to come in Germany – Sport


The Serbian national football team will play in the European Championship for the first time since 2000, and that is the only positive thing that can be taken from the just completed qualifications.

It seems that after the point won in the match with Bulgaria (2:2), only the football players, members of the coaching staff and children from Leskovac and the surrounding area, who had the opportunity to watch the national team live in the stands of the “Dubočica” stadium, thanks to the penalty, were happy UEFA.

Few in Serbia shared the feeling of satisfaction with those present at the stadium, because the match with Bulgaria, after all, like the entire course of the qualifications, only increased the concern for the future of the national team, not only in the upcoming championship of the Old Continent, but also in the years to come.

It is enough to compare the euphoria that prevailed after qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar after the triumphant game in Portugal, with the torture in Leskovac against a weak opponent.

Audience in Leskovac. Photo: EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC

After all, during most of the second half, Serbia’s departure to the EURO depended on whether Hungary would beat Montenegro and thus do the job that was the task of the players in red jerseys and their coach.

Serbia reached the championship unconvincingly. They beat Montenegro, the 70th team in the world, and Lithuania, the 134th national team on the FIFA list, in both duels, thanks to the current inspiration and form of Vlahović, Tadić or Mitrović, rather than the good game of the whole team.

Attackers have a greater responsibility than defense

Against Bulgaria, the worst team in the group, Stojković’s team was on the verge of defeat twice, but both in Razgrad and in Leskovac they drew a point each in chaotic endings, goals from stoppages, and not from deliberate actions.

Serbia suffered both defeats from Hungary, a national team that is inferior to Serbia in terms of talent, but which proved that football is a team game and that individual quality, especially that of Serbian national team members, is powerless in a collision with a system and good tactics.

Even from the first duel with Montenegro in Podgorica, in which three points were drawn thanks to the inspiration of Dušan Vlahović, it was obvious that the coach had not learned anything from the debacle at the World Cup in Qatar.

His tactics were read at the World Cup, but it seems that Pixie thinks it’s normal to enter the match with the hope that the attackers will score more goals than the defense can take.

Dilemma about the selector

The question is whether Stojković will lead Serbia to the championship in Germany, because lately he has often pointed out that his contract with FSS expires at the end of the year. He is obviously aware that this is decided by the man who appointed him to that position and that the criteria for getting that job have nothing to do with results, quality of play or football reasons.

Only the coach and the players in Leskovac were looking forward to the point against Bulgaria:
Pixie’s contract expires at the end of the year. Photo: EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC

However, if he is on the bench, it would be his turn to, apart from bombastic and slightly over-the-top statements, do something that would help the “eagles” to avoid another painful return home right after the end of the group stage.

Something similar can be inferred from the statement of Dušan Vlahović, who said after the match with Bulgaria that Serbia has a good team and therefore does not deserve to be placed in major competitions thanks to luck in the last moments of the last qualifying match.

– We are at the European Championship after 23 years, we have made history, but I, like the team, am not satisfied with those things. I hope that we will make something in Germany. If we want to prove that we are a serious national team, and not just a story, we have to play against serious national teams – stated Vlahović.

The draw for the European Championship is on December 2 in Hamburg, and due to the draw with Bulgaria in Leskovac, Serbia will most likely be in the fourth hat.

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The article is in Serbian

Tags: coach footballers Leskovac point Bulgaria Eagles early real challenges Germany Sport


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