2018 FIFA World Cup: Serbia squad guide, full fixtures, group and key players

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France's Paul Pogba in action with Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami. Football Soccer - Switzerland v France - EURO 2016 - Group A - Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille, France - 19/6/16 REUTERS/Carl RecineLivepic

Serbia will have to get out of a Group featuring a strong Costa Rica and Neymar's Brazil.

Topping Group D in the UEFA qualifiers was no mean achievement for Serbia, but it caused surprisingly little fanfare at home. Their place at Russia 2018 was confirmed with a 1-0 home win over Georgia, but the celebrations were relatively muted, perhaps because disappointment still lingered at a late 3-2 defeat in Austria three days earlier.

Qualifying in such serene fashion had seemed a tall order at the outset, though, with Wales and the Republic of Ireland joining the Austrians in the group. Serbia were consistent throughout, and an ultimately decisive moment came in September 2017, when Kolarov's goal gave them a 1-0 win in Dublin. There were only two games left to play after that; Serbia finished the job, although that was not enough to save their manager, Slavoljub Muslin, from being sacked.

Captain: Aleksandar Kolarov

Manager: Mladen Krstajic

Nickname: Orlovi

FIFA World Cup history:

Fixtures:

Serbia Vs Costa Rica

Serbia Vs Switzerland

Serbia Vs Brazil

Key Men

1. Robert Lewandowski

Who else to start with that the main man himself, Lewandowski one of the best strikers in world football. Containing the striker should be Super Eagles number one priority,

This season, he has 23 goals in the Bundesliga for Bayern Munich, five in the Champions League and 31 in total.

His potency is not limited to just Bayern Munich, he netted 16 goals for Poland, the highest in Europe in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

He is the man to match.

2. Piotr Zieliński

Piotr Zieliński is another player the Super Eagles must pay attention to in the friendly game against Poland.

The 23-year-old playmaker has been impressive in midfielder this season with Napoli. With an eye for incisive passes and runs into the box, the Super Eagles must be well alert to stop the Napoli man from causing havoc.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Predrag Rajkovic (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Marko Dmitrovic (Eibar).

Defenders: Aleksandar Kolarov (AS Roma), Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St. Petersburg), Dusko Tosic (Guangzhou R&F), Antonio Rukavina (Villarreal), Milos Veljkovic (Werder Bremen), Milan Rodic (Red Star Belgrade), Uros Spajic (Krasnodar), Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina).

Midfielders: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United), Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Marko Grujic (Liverpool), Adem Ljajic (Torino), Dusan Tadic (Southampton), Filip Kostic (Hamburg), Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica), Nemanja Radonjic (Red Star Belgrade).

Strikers: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United), Aleksandar Prijovic (PAOK Salonika), Luka Jovic (Benfica)

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