The battle of the former Eastern Europe giants will be held this midweek for the UEFA Nations League 2021. Russia and Serbia were once USSR and Yugoslavia, which were well-respected team back then. Unfortunately, their glory days have passed and they are now nothing but the potential dark horses. They both are in league B group 3 and will be facing off in Moscow for the precious win in their attempt to raise the bar for the top tier next season.
Both teams’ latest news
Russia seems to be still relying on senior names in the squad. The like of Yuri Zhirkhov and Artem Dzyuba seems to be still irreplaceable yet. However, Stanislav Cherchesov also decides to call up four debutantes, Danii Fomin, Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Alexander Sobolev and Andrei Mostovoy. Yet, some well-known figures such as Monaco versatile midfielder, Alexander Golovin, Valencia winger Dmitry Cheryshev and Anton Miranchuk’s brother who just signed for Atalanta, Aleksei did not make the cut.
Meanwhile, Serbia’s squad has been filled with more promising names from the veterans such as Alexander Kolarov and Ajax’s Dusan Tadic to the youngster Luka Jovic and Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic. Their current stars such as Lazio’s Sergej Milenkovic-Savic, Frankfurt winger Filip Kostic and Fulham’s forward Alexander Mitrovic are still included in the squad. The only key man who was left off the squad is the vice captain from Manchester United, Nemanja Matic.
The former national goalkeeper back in World Cup 1994 and Euro 1996, Stanislav Cherchesov is in favour of 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formation. He counts on Dzyuba as the targetman supported by Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Zubnin and possibly Daler Kuzyayev.
Serbia under Ljubisa Tumbakovic tends to employ 4-2-3-1 formation with Alexander Mitrovic as the frontman. On both wings Filip Kostic and Sergej Milenkovic-Savic can be opted for the starting IX while Dusan Tadic will be given the number-ten role.
Players to watch
The captain Artem Dzyuba might still be the main scorer for his team. He has been registering 24 goals in 42 caps. His back-up, Fyodor Smolov, who spent six months on loan in Celta Vigo last season, can provide additional threat at the second half when necessary. Another notable name to watch is the CSKA Moscow full back, Mario Fernandes.
In Serbia, the former Newcastle United man, Alexander Mitrovic is still the main man upfront who has contributed 34 goals so far in 55 caps. He excels at aerial duels and powerful shots. In the midfield, the key figures of the team are surely Dusan Tadic, Sergej Milenkovic-Savic and Sevilla man, Nemanja Guldej.
Russia vs Serbia prediction
This is likely to be the clash of teams with the aerial duel excellence. Both teams tend to count on physical football with long shots and header to score. Yet, the visiting side should be able to do better with more creative players such as Milenkovic-Savic and Dusan Tadic plus Adam Llajic on their side. Nevertheless, both might only share one point each here.
The match might be considered even. However, the home side is only projected to win at 11/8. The draw result is at the value of 9/4, whereas Dusan Tadic and Co are priced to win at 2/1.