Serbia is off to the U-21 Euros which will be held in Poland in 2017. The Young Eagles continue Serbia’s impressive run at the U-21 level, as they have qualified for six of the last eight Euros to take place. It was a hard fought battle through two legs versus a solid Norwegian side that gave Serbia all that they can handle in the two matches. Serbia ended up coming out on top by an aggregate of 2-1.
If there is one person to thank for the U-21’s advancing, it should be the national team head coach, Slavoljub Muslin who released all the players eligible to represent Serbia at the U-21 level. Without them I am not too sure this would have been possible.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was a huge difference maker for Serbia. The big man’s ability to hold off players while on the ball was exceptional. He looked like a man among boys for both of the legs. Nemanja Maksimovic is another player who scouts have been raving about. He is a midfielder who can do all, both defensively and offensively, so you can see why the Serbian FA and many scouts from around Europe are very high on him.
The backline was viewed as a weakness, since both Milan Gajic and Vukasin Jovanovic have not played much club football this season. Despite this, head coach Tomislav Sivic still stuck with his guys and they did not let him down. Jovanovic and his CB partner, Darko Lazic used their strength to bully the Norwegian attackers off the ball.
Up top Serbia had little to worry about with Uros Djurdjevic scoring nine times in qualifying, which was good for a second place tie. Djurdjevic has excellent finishing ability and uses his speed as a great weapon when attacking the opposition.
Going forward, the most important thing for these players is that they get playing time at club level. As I mentioned, Milan Gajic and Vukasin Jovanovic have struggled to get much playing time, you can also add Marko Grujic, Andrija Zivkovic and Sasa Lukic to that list. Srdjan Babic has been playing more and more with CF Reus in the second tier of Spanish football and Nikola Ninkovic has recently seen more playing time at Genoa.
Serbia was crowned U-19 champions in 2013 and took home the U-20 World Cup in 2015.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.