Sunday, 17.06.2018


Scorers: 0:1 Kolarov 57'.Stadium: Cosmos Arena. Spectators: 42,000. Referee: Malang Diedhiou (Senegal). Assistants: D. Camara, El H. Samba. Yellow cards: Calvo, Guzman (Costa Rica), Ivanović, Prijović (Serbia).

COSTA RICA: Navas, Acosta, Gonzalez, Duarte, Calvo, Gamboa, Borges, Guzman (as from 72' Colindres), Bryan, Venegas (as from 60' Bolanos), Urena (as from 66' Campbell). Head-Coach Oscar Ramirez

SERBIA: Stojković, Ivanović, Milenković, Tošić, Kolarov, Matić, Milivojević, Tadić (as from 83' Rukavina), Milinković- Savić, Ljajić (as from 70' Kostić), Mitrović (as from 89' Prijović). Head-Coach Mladen Krstajić


Great victory of Serbia in our opening FIFA World Cup match in Russia. Cosmos Arena in Samara saw "Eagles" victory over Costa Rica with Aleksandar Kolarov's fantastic goal. Serbia team was brave and very convincing. Players coached by Mladen Krstajić controlled the game most of the time and after all said and done deserved a very important victory in their opening match of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

There were not many chances in the first part of the match. Both teams started with many tactical duties, Costa Rica threatened with their counter attacks, and we were most dangerous for the Navas' net with our wing play, especially the right one, with very playful Tadić.

A few situations are worth to be mentioned; the first one in the 2nd minute when Stojković cut the shot of Urena and Ramirez's unsuccessful header after a set play. Maybe the best chance of Costa Rica was in 12th minute, when Gonzalez was alone on the second goalpost, undisturbed, but luckily sent the ball far away from the net. A minute later Mitrović has a chance after a set play, and then we saw a nice move of Tadić to Ivanović, with a centre kick that Navas sent to the field with his fingertips. Maybe the most beautiful move happened in the end of the first half, a centre shot by Milivojević, Milinković-Savić took the ball with an overhead kick, Navas defended his net, and assistant referee from Senegal signalled an offside position that had not happened.

A chance we could only wish for happened very early in the other half of the match. Sergej Milinković-Savić put together Mitrović and Navas, and Costa Rica goalkeeper was better in that one on one duel.

And then came a moment to remember, goal scored by Aleksandar Kolarov. Mitrović wasn't shaken by a missed chance, on the contrary. He started another attack and was brought down by Guzman on some 20 metres away of Costa Rica net, a bit diagonally. The ball was put by the man with golden left feet, the player who scored maybe a decisive goal in previous preliminaries, in the match against Republic of Ireland, played in Dublin. A spectacular shot cam, and the goalkeeper who recently won the European clubs' championship with Real Madrid, Keylor Navas, could not do a thing. It was a score we were waiting for, the score we were hoping for.

Ten minutes later, head-coach Mladen Krstajić made the first substitution and Kostić entered the game with Ljajić leaving the pitch. Costa Rica tried to score from set plays, but Serbia seemed mature, midfield players were good, with Mitrović and Milinković-Savić ready to knock the rival down in any moment. And we almost saw Navas powerless again, with Tadić who wanted to give Kostić the ball, and Costa Rica goalkeeper only touched the ball that tricked Kostić, and it seemed that fortune was on Costa Rica side again.

Second substitution in our team happened in 83rd minute, when Rukavina came in and very good Tadić went out. We still had control on the pitch, everybody knew exactly what to do, and what is the most important - Serbia was a true team. Players worked for one another, there was no lost ball. We could win with more convincing result, Milinković-Savić "gave" the ball again to Mitrović, but a step more and a very good chance was missed. In the end, kudos to all our players who were willing, eager and absolutely dedicated to play for the national emblem on their jerseys. From the very first to the last minute, from Stojković to Prijović who was last to enter the game, Serbia was a team! And thus congratulations for the achieved, and thank you for great victory in Samara!