Serbia World Cup 2022 squad: Final 26-man team announced
The Serbia World Cup 2022 squad has been announced - will it be enough for the Europeans to make it out of Group G?
The Serbia World Cup 2022 squad has been announced, with Dragan Stoijkovic selecting a strong team of 26 players he hopes will be able to send his nation to the last-16, at least.
Serbia's qualifying rate is seriously impressive, but the Eagles are eager to end a run of group-stage exits at this, their fourth World Cup in five. Theirs is a vibrant team stacked with attacking potential, led by a fearless coach, and aided by an ecstatic nation at its back.
The players also have more experience since their disappointment in 2018, and revenge is on their mind: they face Brazil and Switzerland again after losing to both in their group four years ago. Indeed, the latter's Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka celebrate their goals with an Albanian nationalist symbol to rile Serbia. That's motivation.
They will need to play on the front foot at the Qatar World Cup 2022. In finishing above Portugal during qualifying, Serbia combined dazzling comebacks with close margins, enjoying the eight goals of Aleksandar Mitrovic - he added a hat-trick against Sweden last month - while also coming to realise the vulnerability of their defence.
Their attacking depth is simply extraordinary. With Mitrovic, Luka Jovic and Juventus goal machine Dusan Vlahovic up front, they can score freely, even if Stoijkovic can struggle to get even two of those three in his XI. Add Dusan Tadic's creativity, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic's passing range and Filip Kostic's left-wing crosses, and you realise this team can hurt anybody.
However, in a qualifying group with Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, Serbia kept just one clean sheet. Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic is a claming factor but Strahinja Pavlovic can be rush - unfortunately, they have few alternatives.
Serbia World Cup 2022 squad
Serbia World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-man team
- GK: Marko Dmitrovic (Sevilla)
- GK: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic (Torino)
- GK: Predrag Rajković (Mallorca)
- DF: Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina)
- DF: Stefan Mitrovic (Getafe)
- DF: Strahinja Pavlovic (Salzburg)
- DF: Milos Veljkovic (Werder Bremen)
- DF: Filip Mladenovic (Legia Warsaw)
- DF: Srdan Babic (Almeria)
- DF: Strahinja Erakovic (Red Star Belgrade)
- MF: Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
- MF: Nemanja Gudelj (Sevilla)
- MF: Filip Kostic (Juventus)
- MF: Nemanja Maksimovic (Getafe)
- MF: Filip Duricic (Sampdoria)
- MF: Nemanja Radonjic (Torino)
- MF: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio)
- MF: Sasa Lukic (Torino)
- MF: Andrija Zivkovic (PAOK)
- MF: Uros Racic (Braga)
- MF: Ivan Ilic (Hellas Verona)
- MF: Darko Lazovic (Hellas Verona)
- FW: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham)
- FW: Luka Jovic (Fiorentina)
- FW: Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus)
Serbia top scorers
1 goal - Aleksandar Mitrovic, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, Strahinja Pavlovic
Serbia yellow cards
1 yellow card - Strahinja Pavlovic, Sasa Lukic, Nemanja Gudelj, Nikola Milenkovic, Luka Jovic
Who is Serbia's manager for World Cup 2022?
Former playmaking great and ex-FA president Dragan Stoijkovic is a cult hero for this squad, and his aura and laissez-faire approach will give his stars the freedom to shine. The 57-year-old's adamant belief that Serbia will go far at this World Cup has enchanted the nation; look out for more bold statements, and audacious attacking XIs in Qatar.
Serbia's star player
Who is Serbia's best player?
Dusan Tadic, who turns 34 on the day the tournament starts, is the unassuming leader Serbia need - and their best No.10 since their manager was playing. Tadic's move to Ajax in 2018 unlocked new levels to his game; he offers world-class quality as well as experience, and Serbia would fare worse without him than without any of their stars.
How many players are Serbia allowed to take to the 2022 World Cup?
National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now it has been announced that 26-player squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man teams.
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).
By Conor Pope
By Conor Pope