Serbia national football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Орлови / Оrlovi
(The Eagles)
Association Football Association of Serbia
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Mladen Krstajić
Captain Aleksandar Kolarov
Most caps Dejan Stanković (103)
Top scorer Stjepan Bobek (38)
Home stadium Rajko Mitić Stadium, Belgrade
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 34 Steady (15 March 2018)
Highest 6 (December 1998)
Lowest 101 (December 1994)
Elo ranking
Current 23 Steady (12 March 2018)
Highest 4 (June 1998)
Lowest 47 (October 2012)
First international
 Czechoslovakia 7–0 Kingdom SCS Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Antwerp, Belgium; 28 August 1920)
as Serbia
 Czech Republic 1–3 Serbia 
(Uherské Hradiště, Czech Republic; 18 August 2006)
Biggest win
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia SFR Yugoslavia 10–0 Venezuela 
(Curitiba, Brazil; 14 June 1972)
Biggest defeat
 Czechoslovakia 7–0 Kingdom SCS Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Antwerp, Belgium; 28 August 1920)
 Uruguay 7–0 Kingdom SCS Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Paris, France; 26 May 1924)
 Czechoslovakia 7–0 Kingdom SCS Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(Prague, Czechoslovakia; 28 October 1925)
World Cup
Appearances 12 (first in 1930)
Best result Third place, 1930
European Championship
Appearances 5 (first in 1960)
Best result Runners-up, 1960 and 1968

The Serbia national football team (Serbian: Фудбалска репрезентација Србије / Fudbalska reprezentacija Srbije) represents Serbia in association football and is controlled by the Football Association of Serbia, the governing body for football in Serbia.

With the national team nicknamed the Orlovi (Орлови, the Eagles), football has a long history in both Serbia and neighbouring countries. Serbia competed under the various forms of Yugoslav national teams, where it achieved considerable success, finishing fourth at the 1930 and 1962 World Cups respectively. Considered by FIFA and UEFA to be the successor of both the Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro national teams, the achievements of the promising team of the 1990s which featured players such as Dragan Stojković, Dejan Savićević, 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. Arguably the team's greatest success could be described as the 1–0 win over Germany at the 2010 World Cup, a campaign which eventually led to the team's elimination in the group stage.

The home ground of the national team is the Rajko Mitić Stadium of Red Star Belgrade, located in Belgrade.

Both FIFA and UEFA consider the Serbian national team to be the direct and sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro teams.[1][2][3]


A Yugoslavia line-up in the 1930 FIFA World Cup

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

The first national team was in the kingdom that existed between the two world wars. The Football Federation of what was then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was founded in Zagreb in 1919 under the name Jugoslovenski nogometni savez (and admitted into FIFA), and the national team played its first international game at the Summer Olympics in Antwerp in 1920. The opponent was Czechoslovakia, and the historic starting eleven that represented Kingdom of SCS on its debut were: Dragutin Vrđuka, Vjekoslav Župančić, Jaroslav Šifer, Stanko Tavčar, Slavin Cindrić, Rudolf Rupec, Dragutin Vrag and Jovan Ružić. They lost by a large margin, 0–7,[4] but nonetheless entered their names in the history books.

1930 World Cup

In 1929, the country was renamed to Yugoslavia and the football association became Fudbalski Savez Jugoslavije and moved its headquarters to Belgrade. The national team participated at the 1930 FIFA World Cup, finishing in third place.[5] In its first ever World Cup match in Montevideo's Parque Central, Yugoslavia managed a famous 2–1 win versus mighty Brazil, with the following starting eleven representing the country: Milovan Jakšić, Branislav Sekulić, Aleksandar Tirnanić, Milutin Ivković, Ivica Bek, Momčilo Đokić, Blagoje Marjanović, Milorad Arsenijević, Đorđe Vujadinović, Dragoslav Mihajlović, and Ljubiša Stefanović. The national team consisted of players based in Serbian football clubs, while the Zagreb Subassociation forbid players from Croatian clubs to play in the World Cup due to the relocation of the football association's headquarters from Zagreb to Belgrade.[6]

Socialist Yugoslavia

The federation and football overall was disrupted by World War II. After the war, a socialist federation was formed and the football federation reconstituted.

Silver Medal at 1948 and 1952 Olympics

Yugoslavia begin their football campaign by defeating Luxembourg 6–1,[7] with five different players scoring the goals. In the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, they would take out Turkey[8] and Great Britain[9] by the same score of 3–1. In the final though, they would lose to Sweden.[10]

Having a team with many players from the 1948 generation, Yugoslavia was a formidable side at the 1952 Summer Olympics and finished as runners-up behind the legendary Hungary national team. Against the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia was 5–1 up with 15 minutes of their first round match to go. The Yugoslavs, understandably, put their feet up. Arthur Ellis, the match referee, recorded what happened next in his book, The Final Whistle (London, 1963): "The USSR forced the most honourable draw ever recorded! [Vsevolod] Bobrov, their captain, scored a magnificent hat-trick. After the Soviet Union had reduced the lead to 5–2, he, almost single-handed, took the score to 5–5, scoring his third in the last minute. For once, use of the word sensational was justified." Although Bobrov's early goal in their replay presaged a miraculous recovery, Yugoslavia recovered sufficiently to put out their opponents easily in the second half.

1960s through 1980s

Yugoslavia organized the 1976 European Championship played in Belgrade and Zagreb. The national team participated in eight World Cups and four Euros, and won the Olympic football tournament in 1960 at the Summer Games (they also finished second three times and third once).

Dissolution of Yugoslavia and UN sanctions

With the end of the Cold War, democratic principles were introduced to the country which brought about the end of Titoist rule. In the subsequent atmosphere, national tensions were heightened. At the Yugoslavia-Netherlands friendly in preparation for the 1990 World Cup, the Croatian crowd in Zagreb jeered the Yugoslav team and anthem and waved Dutch flags (owing to its resemblance to the Croatian tricolour). With the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the team split up and the remaining team of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was banned from competing at Euro 92. The decision was made on 31 May 1992, just ten days before the competition commenced.[11]

They had finished top of their qualifying group, but were unable to play in the competition due to United Nations Security Council Resolution 757. Their place was taken by Denmark, who went on to win the competition. Yugoslavia had also been drawn as the top seed in Group 5 of the European Zone in the qualifying tournament for the 1994 World Cup. FRY was barred from competing, rendering the group unusually weak.

Serbia and Montenegro

1998 World Cup

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. 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.

Also due to the United Nations international sanctions, the team could not participate in 1994 World Cup qualifying nor the Euro 1996 qualifying process.

On 31 March 1995, the team recorded its first official win in history, a 1–0 friendly against Uruguay, simultaneously marking the team's first ever home game, played at Stadion Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade, and the first ever goal scored, courtesy of Savo Milošević. Slightly more than one year later, the team recorded its first ever win in a World Cup qualifying tournament in its first game in such a tournament, a 3–1 win over the Faroe Islands. Shortly after, the team also recorded its biggest win in history, once again against the Faroe Islands, 8–1. Yugoslavia finished second in Group 6, just behind Spain, meaning it had to go through the play-off system in order to qualify. Yugoslavia was paired up with Hungary, and what was believed would be a tough match turned out to be an easy win for Yugoslavia, 7–1 in Budapest and 5–0 in Belgrade, for an aggregate score of 12–1. This was enough to secure Yugoslavia its first ever World Cup appearance as a new country.

The 1998 World Cup seeding had Yugoslavia ranked in 21st position, but the Yugoslavia national team went to France as one of the shadow favorites for the World Cup. The New York Times stated that Yugoslavia could easily be a semi-finalist in that year's World Cup.[12] The justification for such an estimation was partially found in the names of the Yugoslav players, members of great European teams and proven footballers. 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, last game's hero, Mihajlović, scored an unlucky own goal following a German freekick, and Oliver Bierhoff equalised at 2–2 with only about ten minutes to the match. Nonetheless, Yugoslavia responded in the next game against the United States and won 1–0 due to an early goal in Nantes. Yugoslavia made easy work of Group 6, but despite an excellent record, the game against Germany would prove costly as Germany won the group thanks to 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 inevitably conceded a header from Slobodan Komljenović. However, the turning point of this match was a penalty awarded to Yugoslavia after Vladimir Jugović was fouled in the penalty area. Predrag Mijatović's shot dazzled Edwin van der Sar, but not the crossbar, 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, as everybody was preparing for extra time, Edgar Davids' shot towards the Yugoslav net from a distance of 20 meters and beat goalkeeper Ivica Kralj, to the pure disbelief of the Yugoslav players and fans. This marked the end of Yugoslavia's run in the 1998 World Cup, since there was not much time left to do anything.

Unlucky events forced Yugoslavia out of the tournament, but the team definitely demonstrated its great ability and proved it had a spot among the world's best teams. This was also reflected in the FIFA World Rankings following the 1998 FIFA World Cup, in which Yugoslavia was constantly ranked in the Top 10 for a long period of time.

Euro 2000

The draw for the Euro 2000 qualifiers saw many eyebrows raised as first-seeded Yugoslavia was 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 resigned 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, highly anticipated 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[13] 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 surprise 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 made easy work of Yugoslavia, winning 6–1 in Rotterdam with Patrick Kluivert scoring a hat-trick.

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.[14]

2002 World Cup campaign

The 2002 qualifiers marked the first time that Yugoslavia failed to reach a major tournament ever since its return to the big stage after the UN sanctions. The problems started with the major political turmoil in the country as well in the Yugoslav FA, which prompted the new coach Ilija Petković to resign only after one game (2–0 away victory against Luxembourg).

Milovan Đorić took over the team, but under his leadership, the team managed only two draws (1–1 at home vs. Switzerland and also 1–1 away in Slovenia, in both games the opponents managed to equalise in late stages of the game) and a 0–1 home loss to Russia (which marked the team's first home defeat in official matches). After Ðorić's resignation, a three-man commission, consisting of Dejan Savićević, Vujadin Boškov, and Ivan Ćurković, took over the coaching duties, until Savićević ultimately took over on his own. The team managed to bounce back with a draw in Russia and a win in Switzerland, but failed to defeat Slovenia in the penultimate game, thus ended the qualifiers in third position.

2006 World Cup

Serbia and Montenegro and Cote d'Ivoire playing in the Allianz Arena at the 2006 FIFA World Cup

After Savićević's disastrous spell as coach of Yugoslavia, the country went under a political transformation, and Ilija Petković became the newly named Serbia and Montenegro's new coach. Initially, the team under his lead experienced dragging failure in the Euro 2004 qualifiers while competing for the first time as Serbia and Montenegro. Despite drawing both games against group favorites and eventual group winners Italy and winning both games against runners-up Wales, Serbia and Montenegro failed to qualify, mostly due to an embarrassing 2–2 home draw and 2–1 away loss to Azerbaijan.

Qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, however, was different. Serbia and Montenegro began the campaign by finishing first 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 coach, Serbia and Montenegro played some impressive defensive football—the "Famous Four" defense, consisting of Nemanja Vidić, Mladen Krstajić, Goran Gavrančić, and Ivica Dragutinović, with Dragoslav Jevrić as 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 a disappointing 0–0–3 World Cup run.


After Montenegro declared independence, Serbia marked their split from Montenegro with a 3–1 win over the Czech Republic. The Euro 2008 qualification process began not long after in 2007 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. Serbia's first ever foreign coach Javier Clemente was sacked after the failure.

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

Atmosphere at the start of match vs. France, 9 September 2009
Serbia's starting XI in their famous 1–0 win over Germany at the 2010 FIFA World Cup[15]

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 former World Cup winners and 2006 FIFA World Cup runners-up France, traditionally powerful 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 commanding 5–0 win at home against Romania.

Like in 2006, Serbia went into the 2010 FIFA World Cup as the dark horses of the tournament. Key points justifying their potential surprise-team status included a star-studded defense that was composed by Nemanja Vidić, Neven Subotić, Aleksandar Kolarov and Branislav Ivanović. The captain of Serbia's 2010 World Cup campaign was stalwart 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).[16] 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 sensationally defeated Germany by a score of 1–0 with an acrobatic 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".[17]

Serbia only needed a single point to reach the knockout stages but were defeated by Australia 2–1 in an entertaining match where Serbia's dominance in the first half and in periods of the second half would have made it look like a Serbia victory. Australia scored 2 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

Nemanja Vidić, famous Serbian defender, two times FIFA World XI

Serbia once again failed to qualify for the European Championships, making it 12 years since the country last took part in the tournament. Serbia was drawn in Qualification 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 an embarrassing 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. Serbia played positively and created a number of chances during the game but a long-range goal put Slovenia up 1–0 at half time. The Serbians then failed to convert numerous chances that they had in the second half, 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.

Vladimir Petrović was sacked after the team's failure to qualify.

2014 World Cup campaign

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.

In 2013, on 22 March, 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 and sent Serbia down on the table. 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 in a spiteful affair, 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

Serbian team in March 2015

Serbia once again failed to qualify for the European Championships, making it 16 years since the country last took part in the tournament. 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. In the next abandoned game against Albania in Belgrade, Serbia was originally awarded with a 3–0 victory, but was later deducted three points. 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 18 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. On 10 July, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced that it had awarded a 0–3 victory to Albania in the abandoned match held on 14 October 2014, upholding Serbia's three-point penalization. As a result, Serbia became mathematically eliminated from Euro 2016 qualification. In the table of Group I, Serbia finished second to last place with four points in a five team group.

2018 World Cup

Serbia were 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 Rajko Mitic Stadium and continued this good form with wins over Austria, Georgia, Moldova.

Serbia beat Moldova in Belgrade with goals from Aleksandar Kolarov, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Mijat Gacinovic. 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 with a 1-0 home win against Georgia, and ended top of Group D and therefore qualified for the 2018 tournament.

Qualification table

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Serbia 10 6 3 1 20 10 +10 21 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 2–2 1–1 3–2 1–0 3–0
2  Republic of Ireland 10 5 4 1 12 6 +6 19 Advance to second round 0–1 0–0 1–1 1–0 2–0
3  Wales 10 4 5 1 13 6 +7 17 1–1 0–1 1–0 1–1 4–0
4  Austria 10 4 3 3 14 12 +2 15 3–2 0–1 2–2 1–1 2–0
5  Georgia 10 0 5 5 8 14 −6 5 1–3 1–1 0–1 1–2 1–1
6  Moldova 10 0 2 8 4 23 −19 2 0–3 1–3 0–2 0–1 2–2
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers



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[19] and as the most politically-charged football rivalry by the Bleacher Report.[20] Both have a historic and politically turbulent history which started this rivalry amongst the two. Both were also part of Yugoslavia, which dissolved after war broke out between the republics namely Serbia and Croatia. The two nations have played 4 times, with Croatia winning one and drawing the other 3 games.[21]


Kit providers

In July 2014, a partnership was announced between the Football Association of Serbia and English manufacturer Umbro which is Serbia's current official supplier 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.[22]

Manufacturer Period
Germany Adidas 1974–2002
Italy Lotto 2002–2006
United States Nike 2006–2014
England Umbro 2014–2018
Germany Puma 2018–present

Kit history

Yugoslavia 1920–1992

1930 WC[23][24]
1974 WC
1982 WC
1984 Euro
1990 WC

FR Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro 1992–2006

1998 WC
2000 Euro
2006 WC



Team image

Serbian team before a friendly match versus Ireland in Dublin in May 2008

Ever since the first game played by Serbia and Montenegro (as FR Yugoslavia) on 23 December 1994, the team had the nickname of Plavi (Плави), literally the Blues. This was due to the team's blue jerseys, which they inherited from the former Yugoslavian national team. When Montenegro declared independence in 2006, the newly formed Serbian national team needed a new nickname, as red replaced blue as the team's primary colour.


As of 16 August 2006, when Serbia played its first international match as a resurrected national team (against the Czech Republic), the team is called the Орлови (Eagles).[25] The name refers to the white double-headed eagle found on the coat of arms of Serbia, a national symbol of Serbia and Serbs.

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 record Qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
as  Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1930–1938)
Uruguay 1930 Fourth Place 4th 3 2 0 1 7 7 Invited
Italy 1934 Did not qualify 2 0 1 1 3 4
France 1938 2 1 0 1 1 4
as  SFR Yugoslavia (1950–1990)
Brazil 1950 Group Stage 5th 3 2 0 1 7 3 2 2 0 0 11 2
Switzerland 1954 Quarter-Final 7th 3 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 0 0 4 0
Sweden 1958 Quarter-Final 5th 4 1 2 1 7 7 4 2 2 0 7 2
Chile 1962 Fourth Place 4th 6 3 0 3 10 7 2 1 1 0 3 2
England 1966 Did not qualify 6 3 1 2 10 8
Mexico 1970 6 3 1 2 19 7
West Germany 1974 Round 2 7th 6 1 2 3 12 7 5 3 2 0 8 4
Argentina 1978 Did not qualify 4 1 0 3 6 8
Spain 1982 Group Stage 16th 3 1 1 1 2 2 8 6 1 1 22 7
Mexico 1986 Did not qualify 8 3 2 3 7 8
Italy 1990 Quarter-Final 5th 5 3 1 1 8 6 8 6 2 0 16 6
as  Serbia and Montenegro (1998–2006; 1998 as FR Yugoslavia)
United States 1994 Suspended Suspended
France 1998 Round of 16 10th 4 2 1 1 5 4 12 9 2 1 41 8
South KoreaJapan 2002 Did not qualify 10 5 4 1 22 8
Germany 2006 Group Stage 32nd 3 0 0 3 2 10 10 6 4 0 16 1
as  Serbia
South Africa 2010 Group Stage 23rd 3 1 0 2 2 3 10 7 1 2 22 8
Brazil 2014 Did not qualify 10 4 2 4 18 11
Russia 2018 Group Stage TBD 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 6 3 1 20 10
Qatar 2022 Future event Future event
Total 12/21 0 Titles 43 17 8 18 64 59 123 71 29 22 256 108
* 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.[26]

UEFA European Championship

UEFA European Championship record Qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
as  SFR Yugoslavia (1960–1990)
France 1960 Runners-up 2nd 2 1 0 1 6 6 4 2 1 1 10 4
Spain 1964 Did not qualify 4 2 1 1 6 5
Italy 1968 Runners-up 2nd 3 1 1 1 2 3 6 4 1 1 14 5
Belgium 1972 Did not qualify 8 3 4 1 7 5
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1976 Fourth Place 4th 2 0 0 2 4 7 8 6 1 1 15 5
Italy 1980 Did not qualify 6 4 0 2 14 6
France 1984 Group Stage 8th 3 0 0 3 2 10 6 3 2 1 12 11
West Germany 1988 Did not qualify 6 4 0 2 13 9
Sweden 1992 Qualified/Suspended 8 7 0 1 24 4
as  Serbia and Montenegro (2000 as FR Yugoslavia)
England 1996 Suspended Suspended
BelgiumNetherlands 2000 Quarter-final 8th 4 1 1 2 8 13 8 5 2 1 18 8
Portugal 2004 Did not qualify 8 3 3 2 11 11
as  Serbia
AustriaSwitzerland 2008 Did not qualify 14 6 6 2 22 11
PolandUkraine 2012 10 4 3 3 13 12
France 2016 8 2 1 5 8 13
European Union 2020 Future event Future event
Total Runners-up 6/15 14 3 2 9 22 39 104 55 25 24 187 109

Recent results and forthcoming fixtures

Head to head records (2006 onward)

  1. ^ 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.[27] Both the Serbian and Albanian football associations were looking to have the decision revisited,[28][29] but the decision was upheld by UEFA.[30] Both associations then filed further appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,[31] 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.[32] Serbian FA announced appeal at the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.[33]
  2. ^ The Italy v Serbia match was abandoned after six minutes due to rioting by Serbian fans.[34] The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body awarded the match as a 3–0 forfeit win to Italy.[35]

Head coaches

As of 14 November 2017
Manager Period Record Major competitions
Matches Won Drawn Lost Win % Draw % Loss %
Serbia Mladen Krstajić 2017– 2 1 1 0 50.00 50.00 0.00
Serbia Slavoljub Muslin 2016–2017 15 8 5 2 53.33 33.33 13.33 Symbol confirmed.svg 2018 World Cup – Qualified
Serbia Radovan Ćurčić 2014–2016 11 5 0 6 45.45 0.00 55.55 Symbol delete vote.svg Euro 2016 – Failed to qualify
Netherlands Dick Advocaat 2014 4 0 2 2 0.00 50.00 50.00 &
Serbia Ljubinko Drulović 2014 4 2 1 1 50.00 25.00 25.00 &
Serbia Siniša Mihajlović 2012–2013 19 7 4 8 36.84 21.05 42.10 Symbol delete vote.svg 2014 World Cup – Failed to qualify
Serbia Radovan Ćurčić 2011–2012 5 2 1 2 40.00 20.00 40.00 &
Serbia Vladimir Petrović 2010–2011 13 5 3 5 38.46 23.08 38.46 Symbol delete vote.svg Euro 2012 – Failed to qualify
Serbia Radomir Antić 2008–2010 28 17 3 8 60.71 10.71 28.57 Symbol confirmed.svg 2010 World Cup – Group stage
Serbia Miroslav Đukić 2007–2008 5 0 2 3 0.00 40.00 60.00 &
Spain Javier Clemente 2006–2007 16 7 7 2 43.75 43.75 12.50 Symbol delete vote.svg Euro 2008 – Failed to qualify
Serbia and Montenegro Ilija Petković 2003–2006 30 11 10 9 36.66 33.33 30.00 Symbol confirmed.svg 2006 World Cup – Group stage
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dejan Savićević 2001–2003 17 4 3 10 23.53 17.65 58.82 Symbol delete vote.svg Euro 2004 – Failed to qualify
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Boškov-Ćurković-Savićević 2001 8 4 2 2 50.00 25.00 25.00 Symbol delete vote.svg 2002 World Cup – Failed to qualify
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Milovan Đorić 2001 3 0 2 1 0.00 66.66 33.33 &
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Ilija Petković 2000–2001 4 2 1 1 50.00 25.00 25.00 &
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Vujadin Boškov 1999–2000 15 6 5 4 40.00 33.33 26.66 Symbol confirmed.svg Euro 2000 – 1/4 final
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Milan Živadinović 1998–1999 6 3 2 1 50.00 33.33 16.66 &
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Santrač 1994–1998 43 26 10 7 60.46 23.25 16.28 Symbol confirmed.svg 1998 World Cup – Round of 16
TOTAL 248 110 64 74 44.35 25.80 29.83 5 out of 11

For the period before 1992 see: Yugoslavia national football team#Head coaches

Current coaching staff

As of 23 November 2017 [36]
Serbian coaching staff


Current squad

The following players were called up for the friendly games against  Morocco on 23 March, and  Nigeria on 27 March 2018.[37][38]
Caps and goals updated as of 14 November 2017 after the game against  South Korea.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Vladimir Stojković (1983-07-28) 28 July 1983 (age 34) 78 0 Serbia Partizan
23 1GK Predrag Rajković (1995-10-31) 31 October 1995 (age 22) 7 0 Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv
12 1GK Marko Dmitrović (1992-01-24) 24 January 1992 (age 26) 1 0 Spain Eibar

6 2DF Branislav Ivanović (1984-02-22) 22 February 1984 (age 34) 100 12 Russia Zenit Saint Petersburg
11 2DF Aleksandar Kolarov (captain) (1985-11-10) 10 November 1985 (age 32) 72 10 Italy Roma
2 2DF Antonio Rukavina (1984-01-26) 26 January 1984 (age 34) 44 0 Spain Villarreal
3 2DF Ivan Obradović (1988-07-25) 25 July 1988 (age 29) 26 1 Belgium Anderlecht
5 2DF Matija Nastasić (1993-03-28) 28 March 1993 (age 24) 26 0 Germany Schalke 04
13 2DF Duško Tošić (1985-01-19) 19 January 1985 (age 33) 21 1 Turkey Beşiktaş
19 2DF Nikola Maksimović (1991-11-25) 25 November 1991 (age 26) 19 0 Russia Spartak Moscow
18 2DF Dušan Basta (1984-08-18) 18 August 1984 (age 33) 17 2 Italy Lazio
20 2DF Miloš Veljković (1995-09-26) 26 September 1995 (age 22) 2 0 Germany Werder Bremen
15 2DF Vujadin Savić (1990-07-01) 1 July 1990 (age 27) 0 0 Serbia Red Star Belgrade

10 3MF Dušan Tadić (1988-11-20) 20 November 1988 (age 29) 49 12 England Southampton
21 3MF Nemanja Matić (vice-captain) (1988-08-01) 1 August 1988 (age 29) 36 2 England Manchester United
22 3MF Adem Ljajić (1991-09-29) 29 September 1991 (age 26) 25 5 Italy Torino
4 3MF Luka Milivojević (1991-04-07) 7 April 1991 (age 26) 24 1 England Crystal Palace
17 3MF Filip Kostić (1992-11-01) 1 November 1992 (age 25) 19 2 Germany Hamburger SV
7 3MF Andrija Živković (1996-07-11) 11 July 1996 (age 21) 7 0 Portugal Benfica
14 3MF Mijat Gaćinović (1995-02-08) 8 February 1995 (age 23) 5 2 Germany Eintracht Frankfurt
24 3MF Marko Grujić (1996-04-13) 13 April 1996 (age 21) 4 0 Wales Cardiff City
16 3MF Nemanja Maksimović (1995-01-26) 26 January 1995 (age 23) 4 0 Spain Valencia

9 4FW Aleksandar Mitrović (1994-09-16) 16 September 1994 (age 23) 33 11 England Fulham
8 4FW Aleksandar Prijović (1990-04-21) 21 April 1990 (age 27) 7 1 Greece PAOK

Recent call-ups

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 Aleksandar Jovanović (1992-12-06) 6 December 1992 (age 25) 1 0 Denmark AGF v.  China PR, 10 November 2017 INJ

DF Jagoš Vuković (1988-06-10) 10 June 1988 (age 29) 8 0 Italy Verona v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
DF Nikola Aksentijević (1993-03-09) 9 March 1993 (age 25) 1 0 Serbia Radnički Niš v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
DF Miloš Simonović (1990-05-28) 28 May 1990 (age 27) 1 0 Serbia Napredak Kruševac v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
DF Aleksandar Filipović (1994-12-20) 20 December 1994 (age 23) 0 0 Belarus BATE Borisov v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
DF Stefan Mitrović (1990-05-22) 22 May 1990 (age 27) 13 0 Belgium Gent v.  Georgia, 9 October 2017
DF Nemanja Milunović (1989-05-31) 31 May 1989 (age 28) 3 1 Belarus BATE Borisov v.  Georgia, 9 October 2017
DF Uroš Spajić (1993-02-13) 13 February 1993 (age 25) 5 0 Belgium Anderlecht v.  Austria, 6 October 2017
DF Miloš Kosanović (1990-05-28) 28 May 1990 (age 27) 1 0 Turkey Göztepe v.  Wales, 11 June 2017

MF Sergej Milinković-Savić (1995-02-27) 27 February 1995 (age 23) 2 0 Italy Lazio v.  Morocco, 23 March 2018 INJ
MF Nemanja Gudelj (1991-11-16) 16 November 1991 (age 26) 22 1 China Guangzhou Evergrande v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
MF Nenad Krstičić (1990-07-03) 3 July 1990 (age 27) 4 0 Serbia Red Star Belgrade v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
MF Nemanja Radonjić (1996-02-15) 15 February 1996 (age 22) 1 0 Serbia Red Star Belgrade v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
MF Ljubomir Fejsa (1988-08-14) 14 August 1988 (age 29) 23 0 Portugal Benfica v.  China PR, 10 November 2017 INJ
MF Zoran Tošić (1987-04-28) 28 April 1987 (age 30) 76 11 Serbia Partizan v.  Republic of Ireland, 5 September 2017
MF Nemanja Radoja (1993-02-06) 6 February 1993 (age 25) 2 0 Spain Celta v.  Republic of Ireland, 5 September 2017
MF Aleksandar Katai (1991-02-06) 6 February 1991 (age 27) 6 0 United States Chicago Fire v.  Wales, 11 June 2017
MF Uroš Matić (1990-05-23) 23 May 1990 (age 27) 0 0 Denmark Copenhagen v.  Wales, 11 June 2017

FW Đorđe Ivanović (1995-11-20) 20 November 1995 (age 22) 1 0 Serbia Partizan v.  South Korea, 14 November 2017
FW Andrija Pavlović (1993-11-16) 16 November 1993 (age 24) 5 0 Denmark Copenhagen v.  Georgia, 9 October 2017

Previous squads

Player statistics

  Still active players are highlighted
Dejan Stanković is the most capped player with 103 caps.

Most capped players

As of 14 November 2017 [39]
# Player Period Caps Goals
1 Dejan Stanković 1998–2013 103 15
2 Savo Milošević 1994–2008 102 37
3 Branislav Ivanović 2005– 100 12
4 Dragan Džajić 1964–1979 85 23
5 Dragan Stojković 1983–2001 84 15
6 Vladimir Stojković 2006– 78 0
7 Zoran Tošić 2007– 76 11
8 Predrag Mijatović 1989–2003 73 26
9 Aleksandar Kolarov 2008– 72 10
10 Zlatko Vujović 1979–1990 70 25
Stjepan Bobek is the top goalscorer with 38 goals.

Top goalscorers

As of 14 November 2017 [40]
# Player Period Goals Caps Average
1 Stjepan Bobek 1946–1956 38 63 0.60
2 Blagoje Marjanović 1926–1938 37 58 0.64
Milan Galić 1959–1965 37 51 0.72
Savo Milošević 1994–2008 37 102 0.36
5 Rajko Mitić 1946–1957 32 59 0.54
6 Dušan Bajević 1970–1977 29 37 0.78
7 Todor Veselinović 1953–1961 28 37 0.76
8 Borivoje Kostić 1956–1964 26 33 0.79
Predrag Mijatović 1989–2003 26 73 0.38
10 Zlatko Vujović 1979–1990 25 70 0.36

Captains (after 1994)

Name Period Major tournaments
Dragan Stojković 1994–2001 UEFA Euro 1984, 1990 FIFA World Cup, 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000
Savo Milošević 2001–2006 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000, 2006 FIFA World Cup
Dejan Stanković 2006–2011 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000, 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Nikola Žigić 2011 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Branislav Ivanović 2012–2017 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2018 FIFA World Cup
Aleksandar Kolarov 2018– 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2018 FIFA World Cup

Notable players


See also


  1. ^ History Archived 27 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine. at FSS official website, Retrieved 4 October 2012 (in Serbian)
  2. ^ Serbia at FIFA official website
  3. ^ News: Serbia at UEFA official website, published 1 January 2011, Retrieved 4 October 2012
  4. ^ "Serbia's first match". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "Yugoslavia on 1930 World Cup". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  6. ^ History Archived 27 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine. at Football Association of Serbia official website, retrieved 17-5-2913 (in Serbian)
  7. ^ "Yugoslavia - Luxembourg 6-1, 1948". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  8. ^ "Yugoslavia - Turkey 3-1, 1948". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  9. ^ "Yugoslavia - Great Britain 3-1, 1948". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  10. ^ "Yugoslavia - Sweden 1-3, 1948". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Vecsey, George (26 June 1998). "Sports of The Times; Scrapbooks Of History For the U.S". The New York Times. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Leading goalscorers". Union of European Football Associations. 2 July 2000. Archived from the original on 11 July 2000. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  15. ^ ESPN Soccernet: Germany 0–1 Serbia 18 June 2010
  16. ^ Bleacher Report: FIFA World Cup 2010: Dejan Stankovic's Strange Record 15 June 2010. By Jon Sainz
  17. ^ YouTube – FIFATV: 'Most famous day in Serbia's footballing history' Published 20 May 2012
  18. ^ "Regulations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia" (PDF). 
  19. ^ "Football's 10 Greatest International Rivalries". 17 November 2010. 
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "FIFA Tournaments - Compare Teams". FIFA. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  22. ^ Serbia set to sign new kit deal with Umbro? (in English) 6 March 2014
  23. ^ "FIFA World Cup 1930 Knock Out Stages". Historical Football Kits. 
  24. ^ "Kako je plavi dres - pocrveneo". (in Serbian). Danas. 9 April 2012. 
  25. ^ Dnevni sportski list "Sport", #17.485–17.486, Belgrade, 17–18 August 2006: "Srbija je ostvarila rezultat kakav verovatno niko nije mogao da sanja. Bila je to divna fudbalska noc, prvi let i pobeda naših "orlova".
  26. ^ "History of the FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition (by year)" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  27. ^ "Serbia and Albania disciplinary decision". UEFA. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  28. ^ AFP (25 October 2014). "Albania to appeal UEFA punishment over Serbia fracas". Business Insider. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  29. ^ "Serbia to appeal Uefa decision". 24 October 2014. 
  30. ^ "Decisions upheld for Serbia-Albania match". 2 December 2014. 
  31. ^ "The football associations of Albania and Serbia file appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)" (PDF). Court of Arbitration for Sport. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  32. ^ "FOOTBALL: The CAS rejects the appeal filed by the Serbian FA, upholds in part the appeal filed by the Albanian FA: the match Serbia-Albania is deemed to have been forfeited by Serbia (0–3)". Tribunal Arbitral du Sport / Court of Arbitration for Sport. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  33. ^ "Fudbalski savez Srbije – zvanična web prezentacija". 
  34. ^ Italy-Serbia match abandoned due to crowd trouble
  35. ^ UEFA statement on Italy-Serbia case Archived 1 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  36. ^ "А репрезентација/Стручи штаб" (in Serbian). November 6, 2017. 
  37. ^ "МЛАДЕН КРСТАЈИЋ ПОЗВАО 24 ИГРАЧА ЗА ДВЕ ПРОВЕРЕ" (in Serbian). March 10, 2018. 
  38. ^ "МЛАДЕН КРСТАЈИЋ, АЛЕКСАНДАР КОЛАРОВ И НЕМАЊА МАТИЋ" (in Serbian). March 19, 2018. 
  39. ^ "Most matches for Serbia football team". Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  40. ^ "Most goals for Serbia football team". Retrieved 3 October 2017. 

External links

  • Football Association of Serbia – official site (in Serbian)
  • Serbian National Football Team (in Serbian)
  • UEFA team profile
  • FIFA team profile
  • Beli Orlovi (in Serbian)
  • Serbian football at
  • – fan site (in Serbian)
  • RSSSF – Serbia men's national football team international matches (in English)
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