The match against Switzerland on Friday at the 2018 FIFA World Cup is do-or-die for Serbia. The same could be said for the Swiss.
Serbia, known as the Orlovia, the Serbian word for Eagles, would be assured a berth in the knockout round with a victory and a loss or tie by Costa Rica against Brazil earlier Friday.
Serbia defeated Costa Rica, 1-0, on a 56th-minute free kick by Aleksander Kolarov while Switzerland tied Brazil, 1-1, in their openers Sunday. A win against Serbia would almost assure Switzerland a spot in the knockout round.
Switzerland is sixth in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. Serbia is ranked 34th.
Switzerland, known as Die Nati, German for the national team, has reached four consecutive World Cups, reaching the round of 16 twice, including 2014.
The match, set for 11 a.m. at Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad, is the second in the tournament for both teams.
Since the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, Serbia played in the 2010 and 2018 World Cups. It finished last in its group in the 2010 World Cup.
Switzerland is 11-2-3 since March 25, 2017, including a 4-1-2 record in 2018. Serbia is 8-3-3 since March 24, 2017, 3-2 in 2018.
Switzerland’s roster includes 10 players who play in Germany, five in Italy, two in England and one each in Croatia, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.
Serbia’s roster consists of four players each who play in England and Italy, three in each in Germany and Serbia, two in Spain and one each in Belgium, Greece, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Turkey and Wales.
Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes and Serbian forward Luka Jovic are teammates with Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany’s Bundesliga.
Swiss forward Haris Seferovic and Serbian midfielder Andrija Zivkovic both play for the Portuguese first division club Benfica.
— City News Service