Serbia national football team
The Serbia national football team (Serbian Cyrillic: Фудбалска репрезентација Србије, romanized: Fudbalska reprezentacija Srbije) represents Serbia in men's international football competition. It is controlled by the Football Association of Serbia, the governing body for football in Serbia.
|Nickname(s)||Орлови / Оrlovi|
|Association||Football Association of Serbia|
|Head coach||Dragan Stojković|
|Most caps||Branislav Ivanović (105)|
|Top scorer||Aleksandar Mitrović (41)|
|Home stadium||Red Star Stadium|
|Current||25 (27 May 2021)|
|Highest||6 (December 1998)|
|Lowest||101 (December 1994)|
| Czechoslovakia 7–0 Kingdom SCS |
(Antwerp, Belgium; 28 August 1920)
PR Serbia 2–1 PR Montenegro
(Belgrade, Yugoslavia; 3 September 1945)
Czech Republic 1–3 Serbia
(Uherské Hradiště, Czech Republic; 18 August 2006)
| Yugoslavia 10–0 Venezuela |
(Curitiba, Brazil; 14 June 1972)
Faroe Islands 1–8 Yugoslavia
(Toftir, Faroe Islands; 6 October 1996)
Serbia 6–1 Bulgaria
(Belgrade, Serbia; 19 November 2008)
Azerbaijan 1–6 Serbia
(Baku, Azerbaijan; 17 October 2007)
Serbia 5–0 Romania
(Belgrade, Serbia; 10 October 2009)
Serbia 6–1 Wales
(Novi Sad, Serbia; 11 September 2012)
Serbia 5–0 Russia
(Belgrade, Serbia; 18 November 2020)
| Czechoslovakia 7–0 Kingdom SCS |
(Antwerp, Belgium; 28 August 1920)
Uruguay 7–0 Kingdom SCS
(Paris, France; 26 May 1924)
Czechoslovakia 7–0 Kingdom SCS
(Prague, Czechoslovakia; 28 October 1925)
Ukraine 5–0 Serbia
(Lviv, Ukraine 7 June 2019)
|Appearances||12 (first in 1930)|
|Best result||Fourth place (1930, 1962)|
|Appearances||5 (first in 1960)|
|Best result||Runners-up (1960, 1968)|
With the national team nicknamed the Orlovi (Serbian Cyrillic: Орлови, lit. 'The Eagles'), football has a long history in Serbia. Serbia competed under the various forms of Yugoslav national teams where it achieved considerable success, playing the final at the 1960 and 1968 European Championships and finishing fourth at the 1930 and 1962 World Cups. Considered by FIFA and UEFA to be the onIy official successor of both the Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro national teams, the achievements of the promising team of the 1990s (which featured Serbian players such as Dragan Stojković, Savo Milošević, Predrag Mijatović, Vladimir Jugović and Siniša Mihajlović) was somewhat curbed due to international sanctions imposed against Yugoslavia at the time due to the Yugoslav Wars.
Following the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia has played as an independent nation since 2006, and qualified for the World Cup in 2010 and 2018. At both World Cups, Serbia were eliminated at the group stage, but did record their most memorable occasion at the 2010 World Cup, beating bitter rivals Germany 1–0, with Milan Jovanović scoring the winning goal.
Serbia usually use the home of Red Star Belgrade, the Red Star Stadium, as their home ground. Occasionally, the Partizan Stadium is also used.
Serbia within Yugoslavia (1920-1992)
The Football Federation of what was then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) was founded in Zagreb in 1919 under the name Jugoslavenski nogometni savez (Yugoslavian Football Association). Jovan Ružić was the first Serb to represent the national team in its international debut match, a 7-0 drubbing by Czechoslovakia at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. In the lead-up to the 1930 FIFA World Cup a dispute regarding the relocation of the FAs headquarters from Zagreb to the capital Belgrade erupted, culminating in a boycott by the Zagreb Subassociation which disallowed its members to participate in the upcoming tournament. The de facto Serbian team led by coach Boško Simonović, composed largely of players from Belgrade's BSK, SK Jugoslavija and BASK, reached the semi-final, losing controversially to hosts and eventual winners Uruguay 6–1. The royal interbellum era featured noteworthy Serbian footballers such as Blagoje Marjanović, Aleksandar Tirnanić, Milorad Arsenijević, Đorđe Vujadinović, Branislav Sekulić and Milutin Ivković. Due to the dismemberment of Yugoslavia during World War II the football federation and national team ceased activities but reformed following the end of hostilities.
In 1945 Svetislav Glišović led the first unofficial national team representing the People's Republic of Serbia in a tournament held to mark the end of World War II. The Serbian team encompassing the newly established Red Star squad won its first game by beating PR Montenegro 2–1, PR Croatia 3–1 in the semi-final, then proceeding to win the tournament against the Yugoslav People's Army team 1–0 in Belgrade.
The reconstituted Yugoslavia achieved its best performance reaching the UEFA European Championship finals in 1960 and 1968, and finishing fourth place at the 1962 FIFA World Cup. During its existence Serbian footballers would continually play a pivotal role in the Yugoslav national team throughout the socialist era, with the likes of Rajko Mitić, Branko Stanković, Vladimir Beara, Vujadin Boškov, Todor Veselinović, Miloš Milutinović, Borivoje Kostić, Milan Galić, Vladimir Durković, Velibor Vasović, Dragan Džajić, Jovan Aćimović, Dušan Bajević, Vladimir Petrović and many others until the states disintegrated in the early 1990s. The national team of SFR Yugoslavia played its last game on 25 March 1992, losing 2–0 to the Netherlands.
FR Yugoslavia/Serbia & Montenegro era (1992-2006)
Although the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, consisting of Serbia and Montenegro, was formed on 27 April 1992, its teams were banned from all international sporting events, including the national football team as a result of U.N. sanctions stemming from the conflict in Yugoslavia. Consequently, the national team did not play its first game as a new country before 23 December 1994, a friendly match played in Porto Alegre and in which Brazil won 2–0. This was the first ever team composed of Serbian and Montenegrin players exclusively, while Slobodan Santrač, a former Yugoslavia national team player, was named the team's first ever manager. The next game was played three days later, this time in Buenos Aires, resulting in a 1–0 loss to Argentina.
1998 World Cup
As FR Yugoslavia joined FIFA and UEFA in late 1994, the team was available to participate in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers. Slobodan Santrač was appointed as a coach for the team. In the qualifiers, Yugoslavia was drawn in Group 6 with Euro 1996 runners-up Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Faroe Islands and Malta. With seven winning games (of which are both against the Czech Republic, Faroe Islands and Malta and one against Slovakia), two draw games (against Spain and Slovakia) and one lost game against Spain, Yugoslavia ended up in second place with 23 points behind Spain. Yugoslavia qualified for the play-off i n which they were drawn to play against Hungary. With the aggregate score of 12–1 against Hungary, Yugoslavia qualified for the World Cup.
The 1998 World Cup seeding had Yugoslavia ranked 21st among the world's national teams, but Yugoslavia was widely recognized as one of the shadow favorites for the World Cup. The New York Times suggested that Yugoslavia could easily be a semi-finalist in that year's World Cup. The draw put the team in Group F alongside Germany, the United States, and Iran. Yugoslavia won its first game 1–0 against Iran thanks to a goal from defender Siniša Mihajlović. The next game was a draw for Yugoslavia; after leading Germany 2–0, a free kick from Michael Tarnat deflected off Mihajlović and into the goal, then Oliver Bierhoff equalised it at 2–2 at the 80th minute. Yugoslavia responded in the next game against the United States and won 1–0 due to a goal in the fourth minute by Slobodan Komljenović. Yugoslavia finished second in the group and Germany won the group with a better goal difference.
Due to their second position, Yugoslavia saw itself face the Netherlands in the Round of 16. Yugoslavia entered in the match with a sole attacker, but its defensive tactics proved unsuccessful as Dennis Bergkamp put the Netherlands in front in the 38th minute. Immediately following the start of the second half, Yugoslavia pressured the Dutch, who conceded a header from Komljenović. However, the turning point of this match was a penalty awarded to Yugoslavia after Vladimir Jugović was fouled. Predrag Mijatović missed, and the scoreline remained the same at 1–1. Such an event demoralized the Yugoslavs, as the Dutch took the initiative. In the late seconds of the game Edgar Davids' shot towards the Yugoslav net from a distance of 20 meters and beat goalkeeper Ivica Kralj. This marked the end of Yugoslavia's run in the 1998 World Cup.
The draw for the Euro 2000 qualifiers saw first-seeded Yugoslavia drawn in a group with Croatia, thus marking the first games between the two teams after the breakup of Yugoslavia. The other teams in the group were the Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, and Malta. When the qualifiers began, the coach was Milan Živadinović, but in July 1999 he was dismissed and was replaced by Vujadin Boškov.
The team started with a 1–0 win over Ireland in Belgrade, before beating Malta 3–0 in Ta' Qali. The home fixture against the Maltese followed, but was moved to Thessaloniki, Greece due to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The team nonetheless won 4–1. The first match against Croatia took place in Belgrade shortly after the bombing ended, and was interrupted due to a power outage at the beginning of the second half, resuming after 43 minutes and eventually finishing 0–0. A 2–1 defeat against Ireland in Dublin was followed by victories home and away against Macedonia (3–1 and 4–2 respectively), meaning that Yugoslavia needed to win its final qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb, or to draw with Ireland failing to beat Macedonia in Skopje, in order to qualify automatically for Euro 2000. In the event, Ireland conceded an injury-time equaliser, meaning that Yugoslavia's 2–2 draw with the Croatians was good enough.
The draw for the finals placed Yugoslavia in Group C along with Spain, Norway and another former Yugoslav republic, Slovenia. The Slovenians took a 3–0 lead in the first game at the Stade du Pays de Charleroi, but three goals in six second-half minutes enabled Yugoslavia to secure a 3–3 draw. The team then beat Norway 1–0 in Liège, thanks to an early Savo Milošević backheel strike. The final group game, against Spain in Bruges, saw the Yugoslavs take the lead three times, before a Gaizka Mendieta penalty and an Alfonso strike in injury-time secured a dramatic 4–3 win for the Spaniards and top spot in the group. Yugoslavia nonetheless finished second, level on points with Norway but ranked ahead due to its victory in Liège. In each of the three games, the team had one player sent off (Siniša Mihajlović, Mateja Kežman, and Slaviša Jokanović, respectively).
In the quarter-finals, Yugoslavia was once again paired with the Netherlands. Unlike the last time, the co-hosts won 6–1 in Rotterdam with Patrick Kluivert scoring a hat-trick. Despite Yugoslavia's elimination, Savo Milošević was crowned the joint top scorer of the tournament alongside Patrick Kluivert. Both players scored five goals, although Milošević played one game fewer.
2002 World Cup campaign
Ilija Petković replaced Boškov as head coach in July 2000. For the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, Yugoslavia was drawn in Group 1 with Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands and Luxembourg. Not long after winning against Luxembourg, Petković was sacked and replaced with a three-pieced team which consisted of Boškov, Dejan Savićević and Ivan Ćurković. Despite being one of the favourites from the group and winning both games against Luxembourg and Faroe Islands as well and away game against Switzerland, Yugoslavia managed to suffer a home loss and away draw against Russia, a home draw against Switzerland and both draw games against Slovenia. Yugoslavia ended the qualifying campaign in the third place of the group just one point behind second-placed Slovenia.
Euro 2004 campaign
Savićević was appointed as coach in July 2002. For the Euro 2004 qualifiers Yugoslavia was drawn in Group 9 with Italy, Wales, Finland and Azerbaijan. During qualifying, the country went under a political transformation, and the newly named Serbia and Montenegro appeared for the first time in a game against Azerbaijan in February 2003. In June, after a 2–1 loss to Azerbaijan, Savićević resigned and was replaced by Ilija Petković. Despite drawing both games against group favourites and eventual group winners Italy and winning both games against runners-up Wales, Serbia and Montenegro failed to qualify, mostly due to a 2–2 home draw, the 2–1 loss to Azerbaijan, as well and a 3–0 away loss to Finland.
2006 World Cup
Petković remained as a coach for the team, despite the failure to qualify for Euro 2004. However, qualifying for 2006 World Cup was different. With six wins and four draw games, Serbia and Montenegro ended up first in the group with an undefeated record in their qualification group ahead of favourites Spain. The Serbia and Montenegro team also allowed only one goal in the ten matches, the best defensive record of all 51 teams participating in qualification.
For the 2006 qualifiers, Serbia and Montenegro was drawn in a group with Spain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania and San Marino. Led once again by Ilija Petković as the coach, Serbia and Montenegro with the "Famous Four" defence, consisting of Nemanja Vidić, Mladen Krstajić, Goran Gavrančić, and Ivica Dragutinović, with Dragoslav Jevrić as the goalkeeper, conceded only one goal in ten games, finishing first with a 6–4–0 record, ahead of Spain.
On 3 June 2006, following a referendum, Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia. As the World Cup was about to start, it was decided that the Serbia and Montenegro team that had qualified for the tournament would compete, with the split into separate teams representing the new countries of Montenegro and Serbia to take place once the team was no longer in the tournament.
In the group stage, Serbia and Montenegro lost their opening game to joint group favourite, the Netherlands. The final score was 1–0 after Arjen Robben scored the only goal of the game. They also lost their second game to Argentina 6–0, Serbia and Montenegro's worst ever international result. With the team's two losses and with Netherlands and Argentina winning both their games, Serbia and Montenegro could no longer qualify for the knockout matches and was playing for pride alone in their final group game against Ivory Coast. Despite having a 2–0 lead for much of the first half, the Elephants managed to come back and win 3–2, leaving Serbia and Montenegro with no points.
Euro 2008 campaign
Javier Clemente, Serbia's first-ever foreign coach was appointed to lead the team for the 2008 Euro campaign. After Montenegro declared independence, Serbia marked their split from Montenegro with a 3–1 win over the Czech Republic. For the Euro 2008 qualifiers, Serbia was drawn in Group A along with Poland, Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The qualification process began promising and ended in disappointment for Serbia. A strong start in qualification was overshadowed by the final hurdle of matches where inconsistency took over, the side dropping points against the likes of Finland, Belgium, Armenia and Kazakhstan. They eventually finished third, three points behind runners-up Portugal and Group A winners Poland. Clemente was sacked after the team's failure to qualify.
Serbia replaced Clemente with Miroslav Đukić, who then left the position on 19 August of the following year without having played any official games, due to various disagreements with the Football Association of Serbia.
2010 World Cup
|Serbia's starting XI under coach Radomir Antić in their 1–0 win over Germany at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.|
Subsequent to Ðukić's rapid departure, Radomir Antić was appointed coach and success followed. Serbia's World Cup qualification campaign began in 2008. Their qualification group featured 1998 World Cup winners and 2006 World Cup runners-up France, Romania, as well as Austria, Lithuania and the Faroe Islands. Serbia played consistently during the qualifiers and this led to the team automatically qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. They confirmed qualification with a 5–0 win at home against Romania.
Like in 2006, Serbia went into the World Cup as the dark horses of the tournament. Key points justifying their potential surprise team status included a star-studded defence that was composed by Nemanja Vidić, Neven Subotić, Aleksandar Kolarov and Branislav Ivanović. The captain of Serbia's 2010 World Cup campaign was Dejan Stanković, who became the only player to feature in a World Cup having played under three different national names (although he never changed nationality; this was a result of geopolitical events involving the identity of Yugoslavia). In their first tournament as an independent nation, they were to face Ghana, Germany and Australia.
Their opening group game was against Ghana and chances came to both sides but a red card to Aleksandar Luković and a handball by substitute Zdravko Kuzmanović in the second half gave Ghana a penalty to take all three points at the death. Asamoah Gyan converted eight minutes from full-time and Serbia were defeated 1–0.
In Serbia's second group match, they defeated Germany by a score of 1–0 with a goal by Milan Jovanović late in the first half. FIFA's official YouTube channel called the win "the most famous day in Serbia's footballing history".
Serbia only needed a single point to reach the knockout stages but was defeated by Australia 2–1. Australia scored two goals in the second half through Tim Cahill and Brett Holman. A late Marko Pantelić goal served only as a consolation. They finished last in the group.
Radomir Antić was sacked two games into the Euro 2012 qualification process, a 1–1 draw at home to Slovenia spelling the end to his two-year stint. The sacking meant the bringing in of Vladimir Petrović to the job.
Euro 2012 campaign
For the Euro 2012 qualifying, Serbia was drawn in Group C featuring Italy, Slovenia, Estonia, Northern Ireland and the Faroe Islands. The qualifying stage began with Radomir Antić as coach and finished with Vladimir Petrović. Serbia and Antić started the first two games positively with a 3–0 win away to Faroe Islands and a 1–1 draw at home to Slovenia but this result brought the end of Antić's reign as the country's coach. New coach Petrović faced setbacks immediately with a 3–1 loss at home to Estonia and an abandoned match resulting in a 3–0 loss to Italy due to crowd trouble from the Serbian away supporters in Genoa.
Serbia returned to form with a 2–1 win at home over Northern Ireland but could only manage a 1–1 draw away to Estonia. Afterwards, Serbia won back to back games with a 1–0 win away to Northern Ireland and a crucial 3–1 win at home against Faroe Islands. These results put Serbia in pole position to confirm a play-off spot behind Italy.
Serbia needed a win at home against Italy to confirm a play-off spot but their efforts only resulted in a 1–1 draw. The team, however, still had one more chance to confirm a play-off place when they faced Slovenia away. This game was a must-win even though Serbia had a superior goal difference over Estonia, a draw was not good enough for progression. Neither side played decisively better in the first half, but a long-range goal put Slovenia up 1–0 at half time. The Serbians improved their play in the second half, though they missed opportunities; notably Nemanja Vidić's penalty miss midway through the second half. Serbia left empty-handed after a 1–0 loss and exited the tournament for the third time in a row during the qualifying group stages, missing out by one point behind Estonia. Serbia once again failed to qualify for the European Championships. Vladimir Petrović was sacked after the team's failure to qualify.
2014 World Cup campaign
Ahead of the qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Dejan Stanković and Nemanja Vidić announced that they were retiring from international football. This meant that Serbia had lost two key players and that a new era had started. Branislav Ivanović became the new captain. Siniša Mihajlović, a former member of the national team, was appointed as the coach on 24 April 2012. Serbia was drawn in Group A in qualification for 2014 FIFA World Cup, together with Croatia, Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia, and Wales. The team began the qualification campaign with a goalless draw with Scotland and a 6–1 win over Wales. In the next two games, Serbia suffered two defeats, from Macedonia and Belgium.
On 22 March 2013, Serbia played in Zagreb against Croatia. The game was highly anticipated in both countries due to their rivalry both on and off the pitch. Croatia won 2–0. Serbia then defeated Scotland 2–0 at home in a crucial qualifier, though their World Cup hopes were taken away after a 2–1 defeat to Belgium. Serbia drew with Croatia 1–1 in the corresponding fixture at home, where 18-year-old Aleksandar Mitrović scored an equalizer in the second-half after Mario Mandžukić opened the scoring. They then defeated Wales 0–3 in Cardiff. Dejan Stanković's farewell game was completed in a friendly against Japan, which Serbia won 2–0. He finished his career with 103 appearances for the national team, a record previously held by Savo Milošević, with 102 appearances. Serbia finished qualifying with a 5–1 home win against Macedonia, putting them in third in the group, three points from a playoff spot behind Croatia and group winners Belgium.
Euro 2016 campaign
After failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, Dick Advocaat was appointed as the coach in 2014. Serbia was drawn in Group I in qualification for UEFA Euro 2016, together with Portugal, Denmark, Albania and Armenia. Advocaat started with a draw in a friendly 1–1 game against France. The team began qualification with a 1–1 draw against Armenia. The following game was an abandoned game against Albania in Belgrade. The match had to be abandoned as a result of crowd trouble after a drone carrying an Albanian flag and a map of Greater Albania was flown over the pitch. Serbia was originally awarded with a 3–0 victory by the UEFA, and deducted three points, but on 10 July 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reversed the earlier decision and awarded Albania a 3–0 win. On 14 November 2014, Serbia played against Denmark in Belgrade and lost, 1–3. After this game, Advocaat left, whereupon Radovan Ćurčić was announced as a new coach on 25 November.
In 2015, Serbia's first match was a qualifying match against Portugal in Lisbon, during which Serbia lost 2–1, cutting their chances for qualification to Euro 2016. On 13 June 2015, Serbia played a qualifying match against Denmark in Copenhagen, losing 2–0. With the 10 July ruling by the CAS on the abandoned game against Albania, Serbia would become mathematically eliminated from Euro 2016 qualification. On 4 September 2015, Serbia had their first victory, winning 2–0, against Armenia. On 8 October 2015, Serbia defeated Albania with a goal each from Aleksandar Kolarov and Adem Ljajić. In the table of Group I, Serbia finished second to last place with four points in a five team group.
2018 World Cup
After failing to qualify for Euro 2016, Slavoljub Muslin was appointed as a coach. Serbia was drawn with Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales, Austria, Ireland, Georgia and Moldova. They started off their campaign with a 2–2 draw against Ireland at the Red Star Stadium and continued this good form with wins over Austria, Georgia and Moldova.
Serbia beat Moldova in Belgrade with goals from Aleksandar Kolarov, Aleksandar Mitrović and Mijat Gaćinović. This consolidated their first position going into their top-of-the group clash with Ireland. They won this match with a 55th-minute goal from Kolarov. Serbia finished the qualifying campaign with a 1–0 home win against Georgia, and ended at the top of Group D and therefore qualified for the 2018 tournament, its first major tournament after an eight-year absence. Despite Serbia's qualification, Muslin was sacked by the Football Association of Serbia as a result on differences regarding team selection. Muslin was criticized for not inviting Sergej Milinković-Savić to play in the campaign which sparked controversy in Serbia. Mladen Krstajić took the place as a temporary coach after Muslin's dismissal and led the team in the World Cup.
In the World Cup, Serbia opened their match against Costa Rica. Kolarov's free kick at the second half meant Serbia won their first World Cup game after eight years. Serbia lost their later encounters, losing 1–2 to Switzerland with a 90-minute goal scored by Xherdan Shaqiri and 0–2 to Brazil, thus being eliminated from the group stage.
2018–19 Nations League
Due to poor performance of Serbia in previous years, the country found itself started the campaign of the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League C, where they were drawn into Group 4 with Montenegro, Lithuania and Romania. With both wins against Lithuania and Montenegro and both draw games against Romania, Serbia finished on top of the group, securing the Euro 2020 play-off spot and being promoted into League B for 2020–21 season. With six goals, Aleksandar Mitrović finished the tournament as the top scorer.
Euro 2020 campaign
For Euro 2020 qualifiers, Serbia was drawn into Group B with Euro 2016 champions Portugal, Ukraine, Lithuania and Luxembourg. Serbia kicked off the qualifiers with 1–1 away draw game against Portugal. But in the next away game against Ukraine, Serbia lost the game 0–5. This game also spawned a lot of controversy due to Krstajić's coaching style. After the 4–1 home win against Lithuania, Krstajić was sacked mainly because of the loss against Ukraine and replaced with Ljubiša Tumbaković. Tumbaković started with a 2–4 home loss against Portugal. The next two games were away wins against Luxembourg and Lithuania, before beating Luxembourg at home to keep its slim hope alive. However, Serbia could not take one of the top two places after the team managed a 2–2 draw to Ukraine at home.
After the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs were resumed, Serbia placed itself against Norway in Oslo. The game happened to be difficult for the Serbs, but two goals, one in the extra times and scored both by Sergej Milinković-Savić finally helped Serbia to overcome Norway 2–1, thus marching to the final playoff game against Scotland at home. The game was won by Scotland in a penalty shootout (5-4) after the game was tied 1-1 after full time. Serbia once again failed to qualify for the Euros, making 20 years since the country last took part in the tournament. Tumbaković was sacked after the team's failure to qualify for the tournament.
2020–21 Nations League
On 3 March 2020, Serbia was drawn in 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B Group 3 alongside Russia, Turkey and Hungary. Serbia had a difficult beginning in their first two games. Their first match against Russia away, Serbia was defeated 1–3 as expected. In the second game, Serbia however only gained a goalless draw to Turkey, though it was notable that Serbia played with only 10 men in the second half. In the next four games, Serbia played another draw game against Turkey, suffered a draw and a lost game against Hungary, and in the final game Serbia unexpectedly won against Russia with 5–0. Serbia ended the campaign at the third place on group 3, securing the place of League B for 2022–23 season.
Serbia has a fierce rivalry with Croatia. This rivalry stems from political roots, and is listed as one of the ten greatest international rivalries by Goal.com and as the most politically charged football rivalry by the Bleacher Report. The two sides have a politically turbulent history, which started this rivalry in the 1990s. Both were part of Yugoslavia, which dissolved after a series of wars broke out between the constituent republics, including Serbia and Croatia. The two nations have played four times, with Croatia winning one and drawing the other three games.
Kits, colours and badge
Nicknamed The Blues, the various Yugoslav teams of the 20th century wore a primarily blue kit. This was paired with white shorts and red socks, mimicking the blue-white-red tricolour flag. As Serbia and Montenegro continued this blue-white-red tradition, it was considered appropriate for a newly independent Serbian team to adopt a different colouring scheme.
Serbia eventually adopted red shirts, blue shorts and white socks, paralleling the primary red theme taken up by other national sports teams. Such a look was also based on a tricolour flag arrangement, albeit this time inspired by the flag of Serbia. The first home kit featured red shirts with a blue and white trim, whilst a cross motif was incorporated ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Taken from the country's coat of arms, it remained on the kits until 2014. In recent years, partly due to FIFA's increasingly strict kit clash regulations, Serbia have utilised all-red uniforms, abandoning blue altogether.
Serbia's away kits are traditionally white, featuring a red-and-blue trim.
The badge of the Football Association of Serbia is modelled on the escutcheon of the Serbian coat of arms. It features a modified version of the four firesteels, a historical Serbian emblem, with the addition of a football.
FR Yugoslavia / Serbia and Montenegro
In July 2014, a partnership was announced between the Football Association of Serbia and English manufacturer Umbro which is Serbia's official supplier before Puma took over with their home and away kits, debuting 7 September 2014 in the friendly match against France. On 7 September 2014, Serbia unveiled their latest kits also worn at the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers campaign.
Record in major tournaments
The Football Association of Serbia is deemed the direct successor to both SFR Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro by FIFA, and therefore the inheritor to all the records of the defunct nations.
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup qualification in temple
|FIFA World Cup record||Qualification record|
|within Kingdom of Yugoslavia|
|1934||Did not qualify||2||0||1||1||3||4|
|within SFR Yugoslavia (until 1962 as FPR Yugoslavia)|
|1966||Did not qualify||6||3||1||2||10||8|
|1974||Second group stage||7th||6||1||2||3||12||7||5||3||2||0||8||4|
|1978||Did not qualify||4||1||0||3||6||8|
|1986||Did not qualify||8||3||2||3||7||8|
|within FR Yugoslavia|
|1998||Round of 16||10th||4||2||1||1||5||4||12||9||2||1||41||8|
|2002||Did not qualify||10||5||4||1||22||8|
|within Serbia and Montenegro|
|2014||Did not qualify||10||4||2||4||18||11|
- * Draw for 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifiers was made on 8 December 1991, however due to break-up of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and consequent military conflict, which broke in early 1991, FSJ ceased to exist as football organization of the SFR Yugoslavia. Organization that remained based in Belgrade, Serbia, was excluded from taking part as FSJ or its successor due to UN sanctions.
|Serbia's World Cup record|
|First Match|| Yugoslavia 2–1 Brazil |
(Montevideo, Uruguay; 14 July 1930)
|Biggest Win|| Yugoslavia 9–0 Zaire |
(Gelsenkirchen, West Germany; 18 June 1974)
|Biggest Defeat|| Argentina 6–0 Serbia and Montenegro |
(Gelsenkirchen, Germany; 16 June 2006)
|Best Result||Fourth place in 1930 and 1962|
|Worst Result||Group stage in 1950, 1982, 2006, 2010 and 2018|
UEFA European Championship
UEFA European Championship qualifying in temple
|UEFA European Championship record||Qualification record|
|as SFR Yugoslavia (1960 as FPR Yugoslavia)|
|1964||Did not qualify||4||2||1||1||6||5|
|1972||Did not qualify||8||3||4||1||7||5|
|1980||Did not qualify||6||4||0||2||14||6|
|1988||Did not qualify||6||4||0||2||13||9|
|as FR Yugoslavia|
|as Serbia and Montenegro|
|2004||Did not qualify||8||3||3||2||11||11|
|2008||Did not qualify||14||6||6||2||22||11|
|2024||Future event||Future event|
|Serbia's European Championship record|
|First Match|| France 4–5 Yugoslavia |
(Paris, France; 6 July 1960)
|Biggest Win|| France 4–5 Yugoslavia |
(Paris, France; 6 July 1960)
Yugoslavia 1–0 England
(Florence, Italy; 5 June 1968)
Norway 0–1 FR Yugoslavia
(Liège, Belgium; 18 June 2000)
|Biggest Defeat|| Denmark 5–0 Yugoslavia |
(Lyon, France; 16 June 1984)
Netherlands 6–1 FR Yugoslavia
(Rotterdam, Netherlands; 25 June 2000)
|Best Result||Runners-up in 1960 and 1968|
|Worst Result||Group stage in 1984|
UEFA Nations League record
Last update : 18 November 2020
|UEFA Nations League record|
|Serbia's Nations League record|
|First Match|| Lithuania 0–1 Serbia |
(Vilnius, Lithuania; 7 September 2018)
|Biggest Win|| Serbia 5–0 Russia |
(Belgrade, Serbia; 18 November 2020)
|Biggest Defeat|| Russia 3–1 Serbia |
(Moscow, Russia; 3 September 2020)
|Best Result||27th place in 2018–19 and 2020–21|
Recent results and forthcoming fixtures
For more result see: Serbia national football team results
|3 September 2020 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B3||Russia||3–1||Serbia||Moscow, Russia|
||Stadium: VTB Arena|
Referee: William Collum (Scotland)
|6 September 2020 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B3||Serbia||0–0||Turkey||Belgrade, Serbia|
|20:45||Report||Stadium: Rajko Mitić Stadium|
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (Belarus)
|8 October 2020 UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs||Norway||1–2 (a.e.t.)||Serbia||Oslo, Norway|
||Stadium: Ullevaal Stadion|
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
|11 October 2020 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B3||Serbia||0–1||Hungary||Belgrade, Serbia|
||Stadium: Rajko Mitić Stadium|
Referee: Sandro Schärer (Switzerland)
|14 October 2020 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B3||Turkey||2–2||Serbia||Istanbul, Turkey|
||Report||Stadium: Türk Telekom Stadium|
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bulgaria)
|12 November 2020 UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs||Serbia||1–1 (a.e.t.)|
||Stadium: Rajko Mitić Stadium|
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
|15 November 2020 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B3||Hungary||1–1||Serbia||Budapest, Hungary|
||Stadium: Puskás Aréna|
Referee: Glenn Nyberg (Sweden)
|25 January 2021 International friendly||Dominican Republic||0–0||Serbia||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic|
|22:00||Report||Stadium: Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez|
Referee: William Anderson (Puerto Rico)
|28 January 2021 International friendly||Panama||0–0||Serbia||Panama City, Panama|
|01:00||Report||Stadium: Estadio Rommel Fernández|
Referee: Ameth Ariel Sánchez Pinzón (Panama)
|24 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Serbia||3–2||Republic of Ireland||Belgrade, Serbia|
||Stadium: Rajko Mitić Stadium|
Referee: Davide Massa (Italy)
|27 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Serbia||2–2||Portugal||Belgrade, Serbia|
||Stadium: Rajko Mitić Stadium|
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
|30 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Azerbaijan||1–2||Serbia||Baku, Azerbaijan|
||Stadium: Baku Olympic Stadium|
Referee: Roi Reinshreiber (Israel)
|7 June 2021 International friendly||Serbia||v||Jamaica||Miki, Hyōgo, Japan|
|09:00||Stadium: Miki Athletic Stadium|
|1 September 2021 International friendly||Qatar||v||Serbia||TBC|
|4 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Serbia||v||Luxembourg||Serbia|
|7 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Republic of Ireland||v||Serbia||Dublin, Ireland|
|Stadium: Aviva Stadium|
|9 October 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Luxembourg||v||Serbia||Luxembourg City, Luxembourg|
|Stadium: Stade de Luxembourg|
|12 October 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Serbia||v||Azerbaijan||Serbia|
|11 November 2021 International friendly||Serbia||v||Qatar||Serbia|
|14 November 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Portugal||v||Serbia||Portugal|
Head to head records (2006 onward)
- As of 30 March 2021
|Costa Rica||1||1||0||0||1||0||+1||2018 W|
|Faroe Islands||4||4||0||0||10||1||+9||2010 WQ|
|North Macedonia||3||1||1||1||6||3||+3||2014 WQ|
|Northern Ireland||3||3||0||0||4||1||+3||2012 EQ|
|Republic of Ireland||6||3||3||0||9||6||+3||2018 WQ|
- The Serbia v Albania match was abandoned with the score at 0–0 shortly before halftime after "various incidents", which resulted in the Albania players refusing to return to the field. UEFA ruled that Albania had forfeited the match and awarded a 3–0 win to Serbia, but also deducted three points from Serbia for their involvement in the events. Serbia must also play their next two home qualifying games behind closed doors, and both the Serbian and Albanian FAs were fined €100,000. Both the Serbian and Albanian football associations were looking to have the decision revisited, but the decision was upheld by UEFA. Both associations then filed further appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and on 10 July 2015 the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the appeal filed by the Serbian FA, and upheld in part the appeal filed by the Albanian FA, meaning the match is deemed to have been forfeited by Serbia with 0–3 and they are still deducted three points. Serbian FA announced appeal at the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.
- The Italy v Serbia match was abandoned after six minutes due to rioting by Serbian fans. The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body awarded the match as a 3–0 forfeit win to Italy.
- As of 30 March 2021
|Matches||Won||Drawn||Lost||Win %||Draw %||Loss %|
|Ilija Stolica (caretaker)||2021||2||0||2||0||0.00||100.00||0.00||—|
|Ljubiša Tumbaković||2019–2020||14||6||5||3||42.86||35.71||21.43||Euro 2020 – Failed to qualify|
|Mladen Krstajić||2017–2019||19||9||5||5||47.36||26.32||26.32||2018 World Cup – Group stage|
|Radovan Ćurčić||2014–2016||11||5||0||6||45.45||0.00||55.55||Euro 2016 – Failed to qualify|
|Siniša Mihajlović||2012–2013||19||7||4||8||36.84||21.05||42.10||2014 World Cup – Failed to qualify|
|Vladimir Petrović||2010–2011||13||5||3||5||38.46||23.08||38.46||Euro 2012 – Failed to qualify|
|Radomir Antić||2008–2010||28||17||3||8||60.71||10.71||28.57||2010 World Cup – Group stage|
|Javier Clemente||2006–2007||16||7||7||2||43.75||43.75||12.50||Euro 2008 – Failed to qualify|
|Ilija Petković||2003–2006||30||11||10||9||36.66||33.33||30.00||2006 World Cup – Group stage|
|Dejan Savićević||2001–2003||17||4||3||10||23.53||17.65||58.82||Euro 2004 – Failed to qualify|
|Boškov-Ćurković-Savićević||2001||8||4||2||2||50.00||25.00||25.00||2002 World Cup – Failed to qualify|
|Vujadin Boškov||1999–2000||15||6||5||4||40.00||33.33||26.66||Euro 2000 – Quarter final|
|Slobodan Santrač||1994–1998||43||26||10||7||60.46||23.25||16.28||1998 World Cup – Round of 16|
|TOTAL||284||126||76||82||44.37||26.76||28.87||5 out of 12|
For the period before 1992 see: Yugoslavia national football team#Head coaches
Current coaching staff
- As of 3 March 2021
The following players were called up for the friendly games against Jamaica on 7 June and against Japan on 11 June 2021.
Caps and goals updated as of 30 March 2021, after the game against Azerbaijan .
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|GK||Predrag Rajković||31 October 1995||19||0||Reims|
|GK||Đorđe Nikolić||13 May 1997||0||0||Basel|
|GK||Marko Ilić||3 February 1998||0||0||Kortrijk|
|DF||Stefan Mitrović (vice-captain)||22 May 1990||24||0||Strasbourg|
|DF||Uroš Spajić||13 February 1993||15||0||Feyenoord|
|DF||Mihailo Ristić||31 October 1995||7||0||Montpellier|
|DF||Strahinja Pavlović||24 May 2001||7||0||Cercle Brugge|
|DF||Marko Petković||3 September 1992||2||0||TSC Bačka Topola|
|DF||Aleksa Terzić||17 August 1999||0||0||Empoli|
|DF||Sava-Arangel Čestić||19 February 2001||0||0||1. FC Köln|
|MF||Nemanja Gudelj||16 November 1991||36||1||Sevilla|
|MF||Nemanja Maksimović||26 January 1995||29||0||Getafe|
|MF||Marko Grujić||13 April 1996||10||0||Porto|
|MF||Miloš Vulić||19 August 1996||0||0||Crotone|
|MF||Željko Gavrić||5 December 2000||0||0||Red Star|
|MF||Ivan Ilić||17 March 2001||0||0||Hellas Verona|
|FW||Milan Makarić||4 October 1995||1||0||Radnik Surdulica|
|FW||Dejan Joveljić||7 August 1999||0||0||Wolfsberger|
|FW||Nemanja Jović||8 August 2002||0||0||Partizan|
The following players have been called up for the team in the last twelve months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Marko Dmitrović||24 January 1992||18||0||Eibar||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|GK||Miloš Gordić||5 March 2000||1||0||Mačva Šabac||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|GK||Đorđe Petrović||8 October 1999||1||0||Čukarički||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|GK||Aleksandar Popović||29 September 1999||1||0||Partizan||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|GK||Emil Rockov||27 January 1995||1||0||Fehérvár||v. Hungary, 15 November 2020 WD|
|DF||Filip Mladenović||15 August 1991||16||1||Legia Warsaw||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|DF||Milan Gajić||28 January 1996||1||0||Red Star Belgrade||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|DF||Nikola Milenković||12 October 1997||28||1||Fiorentina||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021SUS|
|DF||Miloš Veljković||26 September 1995||9||0||Werder Bremen||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021INJ|
|DF||Slobodan Urošević||15 April 1994||3||0||Partizan||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Nikola Aksentijević||9 March 1993||2||0||Radnički Niš||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Jovan Vlalukin||21 May 1999||2||0||Metalac Gornji Milanovac||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Aleksandar Andrejević||28 March 1992||1||0||Gwangju||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Marko Gajić||10 March 1992||1||0||Voždovac||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Marko Jevremović||23 February 1996||1||0||Javor Ivanjica||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Nemanja Mićević||28 January 1999||1||0||Mladost Lučani||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Nikola Stevanović||13 September 1998||1||0||Radnički Niš||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Aranđel Stojković||2 March 1995||1||0||Vojvodina||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Ranko Veselinović||24 March 1999||1||0||Vancouver Whitecaps||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|DF||Mihajlo Ivančević||7 April 1999||0||0||Spartak Subotica||v. Dominican Republic, 25 January 2021 INJ|
|DF||Nikola Maraš||19 December 1995||2||0||Almería||v. Russia, 18 November 2020|
|DF||Aleksandar Kolarov||10 November 1985||94||11||Internazionale||v. Hungary, 15 November 2020 COV|
|DF||Nikola Maksimović||25 November 1991||25||0||Napoli||v. Norway, 8 October 2020 WD|
|MF||Filip Đuričić||30 January 1992||31||4||Sassuolo||v. Jamaica, 7 June 2021INJ|
|MF||Andrija Živković||11 July 1996||18||0||PAOK||v. Jamaica, 7 June 2021INJ|
|MF||Darko Lazović||15 September 1990||16||0||Hellas Verona||v. Jamaica, 7 June 2021INJ|
|MF||Dušan Tadić (captain)||20 November 1988||76||16||Ajax||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Filip Kostić||1 November 1992||38||3||Eintracht Frankfurt||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Nemanja Radonjić||15 February 1996||22||4||Hertha BSC||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Sergej Milinković-Savić||27 February 1995||22||3||Lazio||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Saša Lukić||13 August 1996||18||0||Torino||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Nenad Krstičić||3 July 1990||4||0||AEK||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Uroš Račić||17 March 1998||1||0||Valencia||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Kosta Aleksić||9 March 1998||2||0||Inđija||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|MF||Veljko Birmančević||5 March 1998||2||0||Malmö||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|MF||Jovan Nišić||3 March 1998||2||0||Voždovac||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|MF||Aleksa Pejić||9 July 1999||2||0||Proleter Novi Sad||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|MF||Lazar Tufegdžić||22 February 1997||2||0||Spartak Subotica||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|MF||Aleksandar Busnić||4 December 1997||1||0||Rad||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|MF||Milan Radin||25 June 1991||1||0||Dinamo Tbilisi||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|MF||Mijat Gaćinović||8 February 1995||23||2||1899 Hoffenheim||v. Russia, 18 November 2020|
|MF||Saša Zdjelar||20 March 1995||3||0||Partizan||v. Russia, 18 November 2020|
|MF||Lazar Ranđelović||5 August 1997||1||0||Olympiacos||v. Russia, 18 November 2020|
|MF||Aleksandar Katai||6 February 1991||10||0||Red Star Belgrade||v. Hungary, 15 November 2020 INJ|
|MF||Luka Milivojević||7 April 1991||38||1||Crystal Palace||v. Scotland, 12 November 2020 COV|
|MF||Adem Ljajić||29 September 1991||47||9||Beşiktaş||v. Turkey, 14 October 2020|
|MF||Nemanja Matić||1 August 1988||48||2||Manchester United||v. Russia, 3 September 2020 RET|
|FW||Aleksandar Mitrović||16 September 1994||64||41||Fulham||v. Jamaica, 7 June 2021INJ|
|FW||Dušan Vlahović||28 January 2000||7||2||Fiorentina||v. Jamaica, 7 June 2021INJ|
|FW||Luka Jović||23 December 1997||14||5||Eintracht Frankfurt||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021|
|FW||Đorđe Despotović||4 March 1992||0||0||Rubin Kazan||v. Azerbaijan, 30 March 2021INJ|
|FW||Nemanja Čović||8 June 1991||2||0||Vojvodina||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|FW||Nenad Lukić||2 September 1992||2||0||TSC Bačka Topola||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|FW||Miljan Vukadinović||27 December 1992||2||0||Vojvodina||v. Panama, 29 January 2021|
|FW||Filip Stevanović||25 September 2002||0||0||Partizan||v. Dominican Republic, 25 January 2021 INJ|
|FW||Danijel Aleksić||30 April 1991||2||0||İstanbul Başakşehir||v. Turkey, 14 October 2020|
- PRE Preliminary squad
- SUS Player suspended
- INJ Player withdrew from the roster due to an injury
- COV Player withdrew from the roster due to COVID-19
- RET Retired from the national team
- WD Player withdrew from the roster for non-injury related reasons
Most capped players
Captains (since 1994)
|Name||Period||Major tournaments as the captain|
|Dragan Stojković||1994–2001||1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000|
|Savo Milošević||2001–2006||2006 FIFA World Cup|
|Dejan Stanković||2006–2011||2010 FIFA World Cup|
|Aleksandar Kolarov||2018–2020||2018 FIFA World Cup|
- Aleksandar Tirnanić played in the 1930 FIFA World Cup and managed the team from 1953 to 1960
- Rajko Mitić played for Yugoslavia between 1946 and 1957
- Stjepan Bobek was top goalscorer in the team's history from 1956 to 2021
- Milan Galić played 51 match and scored 37 goals for the team
- Velibor Vasović, defender played for Yugoslavia between 1961 and 1966
- Dragan Džajić was considered by many to be the best player in history of Yugoslavia
- Dragan Stojković played 18 years for the national team.
- Dejan Savićević played for the team from 1986 to 1999 and managed the team from 2001 to 2003
- Predrag Mijatović was a top goalscorer in 1998 World Cup qualifiers with 14 goals
- Siniša Mihajlović played 63 matches for the team from 1993 to 2003 and managed team in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
- Savo Milošević played 102 matches, scored 37 goals and was UEFA Euro 2000 Golden Boot
- Darko Kovačević played 59 matches and scored 10 goals from 1994 to 2004
- Dejan Stanković is the Serbian player who won the most trophies; he played in three World Cups and one European Championship
- Mateja Kežman was top goal scorer for the team in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
- Nemanja Vidić played 56 matches, and was participant in two World Cups
- Branislav Ivanović is the former captain, and also the most capped player in the team's history
- Aleksandar Kolarov played 94 matches and captained the team at the 2018 World Cup
- Vladimir Stojković is the most capped goalkeeper in the team's history
- Nemanja Matić, defensive midfielder, played for the team from 2008 to 2019
- Dušan Tadić is the current captain of the team
- Aleksandar Mitrović, center forward, scored most goals for national team in the history
- Serbia national football team results
- Serbia national under-23 football team
- Serbia national under-21 football team
- Serbia national under-20 football team
- Serbia national under-19 football team
- Serbia national under-17 football team
- List of Serbia international footballers (including predecessor teams)
- Yugoslavia national football team
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Serbia national football team.|
- Football Association of Serbia – official site (in Serbian)
- FIFA profile
- Serbian National Football Team (in Serbian)
- UEFA team profile
- FIFA team profile