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World Cup 2018 highlights: Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia
Aleksandar Kolarov scored a spectacular free-kick to provide Serbia a deserved victory of their opening World Cup Group E match in opposition to Costa Rica.
Serbia captain Kolarov – the previous Manchester Metropolis defender – scored from 25 yards when he curled the ball over the Costa Rica wall.
Kolarov’s effort had enough bend to search out the highest nook with Actual Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas clutching at skinny air as he desperately scrambled throughout objective.
Costa Rica solely sporadically threatened the Serbia objective, with an early header over the crossbar from unmarked defender Giancarlo Gonzalez their greatest effort.
With video games in opposition to Brazil and Switzerland to come back, this was a key match for each nations to press their credentials to succeed in the knockout phases.
Mladen Krstajic’s Serbia facet now seem one of the best positioned of the 2 to progress after a dominant second-half show.
The margin of victory would have been larger had Navas not narrowed the angle to disclaim Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic after he had been despatched clear by the spectacular Sergej Milinkovic-Savic earlier within the recreation.
Serbia’s Nemanja Matic, in the meantime, was concerned in an unsightly confrontation with a member of the Costa Rica teaching employees in damage time because the Manchester United midfielder tried to retrieve the ball after it went out of play.
Serbia overcome opening day nerves
‘Improbable’ Kolarov free-kick provides Serbia victory
Earlier than this encounter Serbia had managed one victory of their final six World Cup match matches, and misplaced each of their opening World Cup group video games as an unbiased nation following the break up of Yugoslavia.
Optimism within the Balkan state heading into this match was not notably excessive.
Certainly the nation’s soccer affiliation cancelled an open-top bus parade in Belgrade as a part of a send-off to the match as a result of they predicted such a lukewarm response.
After a cautious begin on this match there are some encouraging indicators that Krstajic’s mix of a gnarled skilled defence mixed with a youthful technically-gifted midfield may make an impression.
“There are not any clans or cliques on this squad for the primary time in a very long time,” Krstajic stated. “The fundamentals of success are an excellent environment in a crew.”
The inventive skills of Milinkovic-Savic had been notably eye-catching and there may be the sense that he should observe this spectacular displaying in opposition to stronger opposition.
A sterner take a look at of Serbia’s capabilities will come of their remaining Group E video games with Brazil and Switzerland however after a low-key build-up, this was an encouraging show.
Aleksandar Kolarov scored his eleventh worldwide objective for Serbia on the Samara Enviornment
Los Ticos look previous their sell-by date
Costa Rica had been one of many shock packages of the 2014 World Cup as they topped a bunch which included former winners England, Italy and Uruguay en path to the quarter-finals.
That facet grew to become synonymous with a fearless strategy in opposition to extra illustrious opponents.
A lot of their squad had been on the peak of their careers throughout that match, however the Ticos have the second-oldest squad at this yr’s match.
Their beginning line-up on this match had a median age of 29 years 346 days. Francisco Calvo, at 25, was their youngest participant.
Towards Serbia, the Ticos regarded like a facet whose greatest days had been behind them.
Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez made good on a promise to shave his head external-link in the event that they certified for this match.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely they may get out of the group phases now they’re right here in Russia.
Man of the match – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia)
The Lazio midfielder, 23, has been linked to Manchester United and has achieved his probabilities of a transfer to Previous Trafford no hurt with a assured show brimming with guile and craft
Ivanovic takes caps file – the stats
Serbia have gained their opening recreation at a World Cup match for the primary time since 1998, after they did in order Yugoslavia in opposition to Iran (1-0).
Serbia have now gained all 4 of their World Cup video games in opposition to groups from the CONCACAF area, with the primary three of these coming as Yugoslavia between 1950 and 1998.
Costa Rica suffered their first defeat on the World Cup since 2006 (1-2 v Poland), ending a run of 5 video games unbeaten within the competitors (W2 D3).
That is simply the second time in 5 World Cup match appearances that Costa Rica have misplaced their opening recreation, with the earlier occasion coming in 2006 by the hands of match hosts Germany (2-4).
Aleksandar Kolarov’s objective for Serbia was the third direct free-kick scored at this yr’s World Cup (after Russia’s Aleksandr Golovin and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo), which is already as many as there have been in your entire 2014 match in Brazil.
Kolarov’s strike was additionally the primary direct free-kick scored by a Serbia/Yugoslavia participant at a World Cup match since 1998, when Sinisa Mihajlovicnetted in opposition to Iran.
Costa Rica had two pictures on the right track within the opening three minutes, then did not handle one other till the 91st minute.
Branislav Ivanovic made his 104th senior look for Serbia on this recreation, overtaking Dejan Stankovic (103) to turn into their most capped participant.
‘This is not over but’ – what they stated
Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez: “We play in opposition to the second and sixth-placed groups within the Fifa rankings.
“It is going to be troublesome, however I simply advised my crew: ‘This is not over.’
“We should always’ve capitalised on our alternatives like they did. We had our tactical plan in place and with the subs, we tried to assault them on the wings. We tried to execute our plan however they managed to attain on a set-piece. What are you able to do?”
Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic: “My gamers had the appropriate angle and strategy: unity. We needed to be a compact unit in each defence and assault and that is most essential.
“What’s most essential for me is that we performed as a crew and we had been targeted. We’ve to be planted firmly on the bottom and proceed as a crew.
“I am an individual who likes to take accountability and even when we had misplaced, I’d’ve come right here to analyse the match to one of the best of my skills. I am very comfortable and pleased with my gamers for his or her crew effort.”
Costa Rica face Brazil in St Petersburg in a 13:00 BST kick-off on Friday 22 June, whereas on the identical day Serbia meet Switzerland in Kaliningrad at 19:00.