World Cup

Serbia v Switzerland preview

Serbia have never reached the knockout rounds of a World Cup, but they have the chance to do so if they can beat Switzerland at the Kaliningrad Stadium.

Serbia beat Costa Rica in their opening game to top the group but Switzerland will have more positives than negatives to focus on after holding Brazil to a 1-1 draw.

Switzerland head coach Vladimir Petkovic said: “The first (match) is always the most difficult match because when you come to the first match you don’t really know how the team is feeling, if they are in top form or not.

“We are going to be able to confirm this avenue that we are on, that we are on the right track.”

“On the second match, you either have more certainty or more doubts.”

“For us the second match is going to give us more certainty.”

“We are going to be able to confirm this avenue that we are on, that we are on the right track.”

Petkovic thinks the game on Friday will be decided by the pace adopted by both teams.

“We can’t just play physically.”

“We also have to run more than our opponent and that’s what we did against Brazil,” he said.

“We have to play our good football.”

“We want to try to keep up the pace for 90 minutes.”

Team news

Switzerland’s Valon Behrami has been receiving treatment due to a muscle problem but should be fit to keep his place.

Serbia’s Luka Milivojevic picked up a minor knock in the win over Costa Rica but should be available.

Opta stats

This will be the first meeting between Serbia (as an independent nation) and Switzerland.

They faced the Swiss 13 times as Yugoslavia, winning six (D5 L2).

Just one of the 13 meetings between Yugoslavia and Switzerland was at the World Cup, with Yugoslavia winning 3-0 in a group stage game in 1950.

The Swiss have lost just one of their last four World Cup games against fellow European nations, though it was in their last such meeting (2-5 vs France in 2014).

Serbia won their opening match against Costa Rica – they have qualified for the next round on three of the four occasions they’ve won their first match at the World Cup, doing so as Yugoslavia in 1930, 1954 and 1998; their only failure to qualify was in 1950.

Switzerland have lost just one of their last 23 matches (W16 D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017.





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