Serbia - Republic of Ireland Preview: Trapattoni's men hoping to overcome Euro 2012 disappointment
After a poor showing this summer, the Irish will be desperate for a victory to boost their confidence, although their opposition will provide them with a tricky tie in Belgrade
By Joe Krishnan
Bisevac, Ivanovic, Subotic, Kolarov
Tosic, Kuzmanovic, Tadic
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Kelly, McShane, O'Dea, O'Shea
McClean, Whelan, McCarthy, McGeady
The hosts will have a new-look squad on show as new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic looks to stamp his authortiy on the national team.
Promising 18-year-old striker Lazar Markovic makes the squad for just the second time, having made his debut back in February against Armenia, while Fiorentina's young left-back Matija Nastasic is also included.
Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandr Kolarov, who both played in the Community Shield on Sunday, are both expected to start in defence, while former Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic is poised to start on the right-hand side of midfield.
Meanwhile, Giovanni Trapattoni will have his work cut out putting together his Ireland side for the friendly after a series of withdrawals left the tactician with few options in all areas.
Wolves pair Stephen Ward (bruised leg) and Kevin Doyle (knee) have been ruled out of the friendly, while Marc Wilson, Keith Treacy, Anthony Pilkington and Wes Hoolahan are all also unavailable due to injury.
After Shay Given's retirement from international football, Sunderland's Keiren Westwood will be determined to step up to the mark and cement his place in the team, with the 27-year-old set to earn his 11th cap.
With several replacements called up to replace the injured stars, veteran coach Trapattoni has also opted to rest senior players such as Richard Dunne and Damien Duff ahead of the start of the new Premier League season, with the Italian keen to give his younger players a chance to prove themselves ahead of the World Cup 2014 qualifiers later this year.
As a result, James McClean and Seamus Coleman are likely to be in contention for a start, while Wigan central midfielder James McCarthy could start alongside Glenn Whelan in the centre of midfield. His Stoke team-mate, Jonathan Walters, will partner Shane Long in attack.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who has been in charge since May 2012, scored nine times in 63 appearances as a player for Yugoslavia and also Serbia & Montenegro, and played in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 tournaments.
- Mihajlovic's men have not won a fixture in their last four games - their last victory was a 2-0 win over Armenia in February - and have only scored once in the process.
- Lazar Markovic (pictured right) was named Partizan Belgrade's Player of the Year last season after scoring six goals in 26 games, despite only turning 18 in March. Markovic is 9/4 with Bet365 to score anytime in this match.
- Republic of Ireland lost all three of their group matches at this summer's European Championships in Poland & Ukraine, scoring just once while conceding nine times.
- Of the 23-man squad picked by Giovanni Trapattoni for the friendly, only Aiden McGeady of Spartak Moscow based is not based in the United Kingdom, with the squad also containing no home-based Irish players.
- Ireland's 73-year-old coach Trapattoni is in his 38th year as a football manager, having had spells with Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich before taking the national team job in 2008.
- The two nations last met each other in a friendly at Croke Park, Dublin, in 2008, when Andy Keogh's 90th-minute equaliser denied Serbia victory after Marko Pantelic's opener.
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Top 3 Predictions
Serbia 2-0 Republic of Ireland
- 21.78 %
Serbia 2-1 Republic of Ireland
- 11.88 %
Serbia 3-1 Republic of Ireland
- 10.89 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||15 Aug 2012||Serbia 0 - Republic of Ireland 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||24 May 2008||Republic of Ireland 1 - Serbia 1|
|26 Mar 2013||Serbia 2 - Scotland 0||WCQE|
|22 Mar 2013||Croatia 2 - Serbia 0||WCQE|
|6 Feb 2013||Cyprus 1 - Serbia 3||FR|
|14 Nov 2012||Chile 1 - Serbia 3||FR|
|16 Oct 2012||Macedonia FYR 1 - Serbia 0||WCQE|
Arguably the most exciting talent to come out of Serbia since the country gained independence, Markovic has been interesting the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool after some stunning displays last season. Voted Player of the Year by Partizan Belgrade's fans, Markovic wowed European scouts, scoring six goals in 26 games as well as creating many for his team-mates on the way to the domestic title. A playmaker with also an eye for goal, he's a player in the mould of Stevan Jovetic, so it's easy to see why Partizan want to hang on to him for another year or two.
The former Derry City winger has improved dramatically over the last 18 months and showed signs of his true potential in the latter stages of last season. Just 23 years of age, McClean provides optimism to any Ireland fan who may fear that the new talent isn't good enough. Quick, agile and hard-working, McClean is a dangerous asset on the wings and he could cause the likes of Ivanovic and Subotic some problems in this friendly.
Both sides are well overdue a victory, especially Ireland after their poor display this summer. The visitors will be looking to Shane Long to provide his deadly finishing touch to any move created. That being said, Belgrade is one of the most hostile atmospheres to play within and the Irish fans must be at the their best to motivate the team to come out victorious. A stalemate could well be the on the cards, with both managers looking to experiment during the game.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed