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Raća Petrović is Makelele for him at this stage.

I have funny feeling about this WC. Hopefully the lads prove me wrong.

Krstajić needs to stop experimenting and play full strength offensive line up. Tadić and Zivković need to play from the start alongside Matić and SMS. At this point our only players with creativity that can control the ball while being under pressure. Give Prijović and Jović at least half game each if not whole game together. Lock up Grujić in his hotel-room for the rest of the WC. Our defense is hopeless so won't waste my titkanje.
 

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Almost all our players are over 1,85 but we don't use that advantage at all. I think I could deliver better set-pieces than they have done today.
We were also 12 inches taller than everyone on Argentina in 2006 and we remember how that turned out
 

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Calling up Grujic to be our only backup in central midfield is an absolutely disastrous decision by Krstajic. I pray to God Matic doesn't get injured. If the worst happens, then I'd play SMS there without any hesitation, even if he's better further up the pitch.

I guess an open question now is who will be Bane's CB partner. As zoric and marakana said, Tosic's distribution was mixed but his defensive lapses are what concern me the most. Milenkovic looked better today but it's asking a lot from a 20 year old. Would have liked to see Veljkovic as well.

I know a few people on here want to see Ljajic start but I really feel he'd be better as a creative spark off the bench. SMS is the better player and offers us a lot more dimensions. Ljajic doesn't work hard enough and doesn't give us the width we need if he were to start in a wide position. I would prefer Kostic or Zivkovic.
I agree - LW and the second CB should be the two remaining positions in the starting lineup. Apparently Krstajic said on the press conference that he may use Ljajic at the left wing and that Milenkovic can be a starter next to Ivanovic. I think we would get more directness and better defence with Kostic, Zivkovic or even Radonjic on that position. I also don't know why he doesn't give Veljkovic the chance next to Bane?

Yesterday Grujic had huge problems with transporting the ball and that proved that at least one of Fejsa, Maksimovic and Gacinovic deserved that central-midfield spot in the squad instead of Grujic and perhaps Spajic and someone else which I think is the only big mistake in the squad selection.

My starting line-up for for Boliva and Costa Rica:

Mitrovic
Zivkovic - Sergej - Tadic
Matic - Milivojevic
Kolarov - Veljkovic - Ivanovic - Rukavina
Stojkovic
 

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Zeko lopove...
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Reading this thread is too funny. Y'all come on in and just criticize, no wonder the team is the way it is. I really liked what Krstajic said today.

We should be happy that we're even in it given the last 6 years. Let's just support the lads, no matter who is in the 11.

October 6th -

Pojma mi nemamo POJMA
October 9th -

I knew it could work! :D

Next EC we're going to find another one and keep the juices flowing!

Like Vojo said, congrats to all here, we've been through a lot. But recently Serbian sports, both national teams and clubs have been fantastic to follow! What a year this is turning out to be, let's enjoy it! :happy:
December 29th -



Official now. Best of luck to Krstajic and let's hope he's a natural. :)

Will be very interesting to see what formation he decides to go on with. He called the 4-3-3 a plan B when he took over (maybe out of respect to Muslin), but hopefully it becomes our plan A. Looking at our players, it would be really weird if SMS didn't end up a starter and for him that 4-3-3 is the best fit (not to mention our defence).

Also now at least we know some youngsters are going to make the squad, assuming they continue to develop at their clubs. Good incentive for them and let's hope a couple of them really explode in the remainder of the season.
Overall, just trying to keep up the positive vibes. We all get so down after 1 defeat. Just relax. Zoric said it best after the Austria game.

Defeats don't go down particularly well with Serbs..or any football fans :D It's funny how Dzone (who's been accused of being a pessimist) is the most positive person in here after a failed attempt to qualify for the World Cup :D
Remember it's just a friendly. Things will be different when the tournament starts.
 

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It tells you everything about his mentality when he makes those comments after a game like that! :facepalm:

Your team is only as good as your weakest links. You can't afford to be pushing players who clearly don't belong at a World Cup where squad depth is critical, especially when you have options that are clearly better. Like you pointed out, those two central midfielders are absolutely crucial to make the 4-2-3-1 work otherwise there is no link and transition between the defence and attack.

Getting to the second round will be one hell of a task with this team.
Right now we look like the weakest team in the group. Both Costa Rica and Switzerland are organized teams that know how to play with each other and are difficult to breakdown. It doesn't have to be that way - if we can put it together I think we have a good team. But I'm keeping my expectations low and hoping for a pleasant surprise.
 

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I agree - LW and the second CB should be the two remaining positions in the starting lineup. Apparently Krstajic said on the press conference that he may use Ljajic at the left wing and that Milenkovic can be a starter next to Ivanovic. I think we would get more directness and better defence with Kostic, Zivkovic or even Radonjic on that position. I also don't know why he doesn't give Veljkovic the chance next to Bane?
I think Krstajic will probably start with Ljajic but I don't like the move personally. With Tadic on the other wing, you have two luxury midfielders who aren't hard working and both like to drift centrally toward SMS. With the 4-2-3-1 we look set to play, we need at least one winger who will track back and play a little more direct. I totally agree that Kostic and Zivkovic are our best options there.

I was hoping for more from Zivkovic during the last two friendlies he started. He was obviously put in very difficult situations in both (unbalanced and ultra-attacking against Morocco, experimental and no midfield against Chile) but I know he's capable of much more. His touch and workrate are good but like srb mentioned, I feel like he's missing confidence in the final third.
 

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Are there any speculations about who of our players will retire from the NT after the World Cup?

Probably Ivanovic, Rukavina, D.Tosic, Basta and Stojkovic? Kolarov as new captain will probably continue.

It means we will need to rebuild our defence from September. Hopefully some of our younger defenders and goalkeepers can take the next step in their careers in the upcoming period - I have high hopes for especially Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Milenkovic and Gajic.
 

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We need to come out with the strongest side against Bolivia, probably the first 11 who will play at our WC opening.

For me the most concern in our game against Chile was concentration and effort. It was bellow what we used to in qualifications. Krstajić needs to lift that up in next game and especially at WC of course.

Milenković was pleasent surprise, very good. Grujić was very bad. Unfortunatelly Živković was bad also. It's his second game where he was bad for NT. Krstajić needs to find him suitable role.

SMS also need time with the team.

Maybe we should go with 3 players up front same like in qf + SMS. I like Ljajić and Živković but Kostić is probably the best player for our gameplay I don't know?
 

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Reading this thread is too funny. Y'all come on in and just criticize, no wonder the team is the way it is. I really liked what Krstajic said today.

We should be happy that we're even in it given the last 6 years. Let's just support the lads, no matter who is in the 11.

October 6th -

LjubaM said:
Pojma mi nemamo, POJMA
October 9th -



December 29th -



Overall, just trying to keep up the positive vibes. We all get so down after 1 defeat. Just relax. Zoric said it best after the Austria game.
That was after the Austria away game, what did you expect? Bravo majstori? The whole country criticized let alone a football forum a horrendous almost no effort performance and no it wasn't just after the Austria game, it was building up with average to poor displays and luck finally ran out for Muslin at that game. Besides I do praise when we play well even in a defeat (Belgium home game) but there was hardly anything to praise since WC'10 qualifying at our senior NT level. Odd game here and there don't warrant confidence.

Again let's see if these defeats in friendlies are used as a wake up call šamar and lads perform better at the WC.
 

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That was after the Austria away game, what did you expect? Bravo majstori? The whole country criticized let alone a football forum a horrendous almost no effort performance and no it wasn't just after the Austria game, it was building up with average to poor displays and luck finally ran out for Muslin at that game.
A couple of things to reflect upon:

1) Do you need to follow suit just because the rest of the country is creating hysteria over something that could've happened to Serbia considering the lack of experience and amount of failures this side has had in the past? Austria happened to beat Germany in a friendly a couple of days ago btw.

2) There wasn't a "lack of effort", this team just didn't know how to handle the occasion. A mental block which lasted for the last 3-4 qualifying games. Normal for a team with little leadership that haven't achieved what they were on their way to do.

Again let's see if these defeats in friendlies are used as a wake up call šamar and lads perform better at the WC.
Don't expect too much for your own sake.

- The coach is a novice at this level. And he's had a few games to work with his team despite forming part of it as an assistant coach.
- The team is between two generations: one that has failed many times but has an important hierarchical standing in the group and one group of players that has plenty of talent but little hierarchical standing. When People wanted a generational change there was criticism of it not happpening, once it happened, there's criticism that we're not playing well. You can't eat the cake and still keep it.
- Serbia doesn't possess a lot of quality in defence. This is crucial to be successful.
- We're the team with least tournament experience in our group yet we keep seeing ourselves as something we're not. Switzerland are bigger favorites to advance than Serbia because they have a structure that has been built for a while. Same goes for Costa Rica even if they might not sound great to people. Talent is only fully exploited within a good and stable structure. We don't have that.
 

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We need to come out with the strongest side against Bolivia, probably the first 11 who will play at our WC opening.
Not necessarily.

There needs to be an element of surprise involved as well. Otherwise you're giving away everything to your opponents. What they need to do better is work on the things that have failed in training; balance, positioning, transitional play and finishing. I hope he has a central line figured out because that's the spine of a team: GK, CB-pairing, DM+CM and ST. The rest can be adjusted depending on necessity.
 

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I think Krstajic will probably start with Ljajic but I don't like the move personally. With Tadic on the other wing, you have two luxury midfielders who aren't hard working and both like to drift centrally toward SMS. With the 4-2-3-1 we look set to play, we need at least one winger who will track back and play a little more direct. I totally agree that Kostic and Zivkovic are our best options there.
This is just a matter of preferences. It won't be an issue if Ljajić and Tadić both play as long as the fullbacks do their job in terms of providing width. I'd pair up Tadić with Rukavina because he's better at exploiting the fullback. Kolarov needs little help in that department. SMS, Ljajić and Tadić are three players with similarities as they're good in terms of interplay and combination play. SMS is also dangerous as a second wave player (like Baselli can be for Torino when Ljajić turns inside and crosses the ball into the penalty area). I'm not worried they'll be standing in the way of each other, especially with Mitrović as a reference upfront. The key as usual is to have clear movement patterns and positions depending on who has the ball at their feet and more importantly where. The only thing we'll miss is a bit of directness but it'll probably be a better option against closed defences. Defending might not be natural to any of our wide players but Ljajić for an example is not only smarter than Živković tactically (normal since the demands in Serie A are the highest in the World), he's also better defensively. Živković is the worst defender out of the four at the highest level btw. Hence why he hardly played for Benfica for large periods despite being one of their most talented players. Having said that, all four are mediocre defensively on the highest level so it'll be tough nontheless.

Kostić would play if we press higher up the pitch. We hardly did that against Chile. It'll be needed against Costa Rica and Switzerland but periodically during the games. Another thing they need to work on that is currently exploiting our defence more than it has to. The starting eleven really depends on the game we're playing and the characteristics of the opponent we're facing. And we could use both alternatives (the more possession based Tadić-SMS-Ljajić or the one with Kostić if we're planning on a higher pressing game).
 

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I hope things will be different Mara and I expect them to be a lot better than what we just showed, considering this was just a friendly and you could tell the players weren't giving their maximum out there. But there are some undeniable holes in our game that can't be fixed in a couple of months, let alone the next 2 weeks. So as Zoki always says, we'll have to mask our weaknesses as well as we can, while we exploit our strengths and hope that it's enough to get some results.

I'd like to see something closest to our starting 11 as well Vs Bolivia. Maybe some minor twists like having Veljkovic start this one to see if he's the one. Also to test the 3 behind the striker, like you guys are suggesting. Maybe go Ljaja-SMS-Tadic one half and then Kostic-SMS-Tadic with a late cameo for Zile on the right. Cause that trio will be crucial to our game. We already know what to expect from Mitar, Kolarov, Ruki, Milivojevic and Matic.
 

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Reading this thread is too funny. Y'all come on in and just criticize, no wonder the team is the way it is. I really liked what Krstajic said today.

We should be happy that we're even in it given the last 6 years. Let's just support the lads, no matter who is in the 11.

Remember it's just a friendly. Things will be different when the tournament starts.
We are where we are because we don't learn from previous experiences and as a result we've partly failed to qualify for the last three tournaments. And we don't seem to be learning even if Krstajić is trying his best to avoid repeating the same mistakes as was the case in 2006 or 2010. He's new in the job and will make mistakes as a consequence (you can't learn or progress without committing mistakes in any profession) because some people are better at some things and need improvement in other areas. His experience comes from his playing days. Hence why he's trying to do everything in his power to avoid the mistakes off the field, hence the gentle, open and caring tone with the press. Too much in my opinion but you only have to go as far as SMS and Matić walking past the mixed zone for the Serbian press to be angered or hurt. In order to be a successful coach you also have to surrounds yourself with really good people because coaches are also people. They get influenced by outside or inside things as well, subconsciously or consciously.
 

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Not necessarily.

There needs to be an element of surprise involved as well. Otherwise you're giving away everything to your opponents. What they need to do better is work on the things that have failed in training; balance, positioning, transitional play and finishing. I hope he has a central line figured out because that's the spine of a team: GK, CB-pairing, DM+CM and ST. The rest can be adjusted depending on necessity.
We also need to develop confidence and familiarity. Given that we've changed our entire system and coach, we need to take advantage of these limited opportunities to develop a cohesive team. You can do a lot in training but it doesn't compare to an actual match.

I think it's a little naive as well to think we can surprise other teams. Any half-decent scout/analyst knows what our strengths/weaknesses are and how we will lineup minus a couple of players. That's normal, teams play to their strengths and need continuity.
 

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This is just a matter of preferences. It won't be an issue if Ljajić and Tadić both play as long as the fullbacks do their job in terms of providing width. I'd pair up Tadić with Rukavina because he's better at exploiting the fullback. Kolarov needs little help in that department. SMS, Ljajić and Tadić are three players with similarities as they're good in terms of interplay and combination play. SMS is also dangerous as a second wave player (like Baselli can be for Torino when Ljajić turns inside and crosses the ball into the penalty area). I'm not worried they'll be standing in the way of each other, especially with Mitrović as a reference upfront. The key as usual is to have clear movement patterns and positions depending on who has the ball at their feet and more importantly where. The only thing we'll miss is a bit of directness but it'll probably be a better option against closed defences. Defending might not be natural to any of our wide players but Ljajić for an example is not only smarter than Živković tactically (normal since the demands in Serie A are the highest in the World), he's also better defensively. Živković is the worst defender out of the four at the highest level btw. Hence why he hardly played for Benfica for large periods despite being one of their most talented players. Having said that, all four are mediocre defensively on the highest level so it'll be tough nontheless.
In that scenario we depend almost entirely on Kolarov to provide width (Rukavina is ineffective offensively) which puts more strain on our defence and would require our midfield to contribute even more defensively. Ljajic might play in Serie A but he's lazy defensively - hardly presses, doesn't track back and Tadic is the same.

I disagree about Zivkovic. He might lack a little bit physically but he works hard, tracks back and can break up plays. He's had to improve defensively since being moved centrally at Benfica. The reason he didn't play as much earlier is because their coach had his own preferences (which most fans disagreed with btw) - he's been a regular after Krovinovic's injury. I don't think he was ever bad defensively either since I've followed him on the youth teams. For example, he was a big contributor to the excellent pressing we played under Paunovic at the U20 WC. Check out who creates the game winning goal against Brazil by defending deep in our half late into extratime and continuing his run.

Kostic and Zivkovic might not be the best tactical defenders but there's a big difference between those two and Ljajic/Tadic simply based on their workrates.
 

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We also need to develop confidence and familiarity. Given that we've changed our entire system and coach, we need to take advantage of these limited opportunities to develop a cohesive team. You can do a lot in training but it doesn't compare to an actual match.

I think it's a little naive as well to think we can surprise other teams. Any half-decent scout/analyst knows what our strengths/weaknesses are and how we will lineup minus a couple of players. That's normal, teams play to their strengths and need continuity.
Surprises can be anything from a set-piece play (like the really good one against Ghana in 2010 that failed) to movement patterns with and without the ball. Adding something new not previously seen. One or two tactical movements for an example. It's not a matter completely changing your own way of playing by going to a 2-3-5-system or switch to 7-2-1 all of a sudden. Anyone understands that things don't work that way. And I don't think we should play 4-2-3-1 defensively. We're not good at it.

In that scenario we depend almost entirely on Kolarov to provide width (Rukavina is ineffective offensively) which puts more strain on our defence and would require our midfield to contribute even more defensively. Ljajic might play in Serie A but he's lazy defensively - hardly presses, doesn't track back and Tadic is the same.
Providing width doesn't necessarily mean providing width the way Kolarov does it. Rukavina is perfectly capable of overlapping down his wing without always getting the ball. His runs will at least create space and a bit of time for the ball holding player. He does this for Villarreal when he plays. Our lines have to be a lot more compact when we lose the ball. We need to know how to foul tactically. Serbia don't do any of this. The final product will always be worse from him but you don't have to use him in the final third every time you attack. Most good things in football happen when a player receives the ball in spaces. I think Krstajić should choose starting players based on the opponent. Kostić and Živković are more efficient on the counter for an example. Živković can be useful against closed sides as well because of his 1-on-1-ability and pattern breaking on set-pieces (unfortunately he doesn't have the hierarchical standing because of Kolarov to take some) while Ljajić-Tadić are better against closed defences but especially Ljajić is decent on the counter for Torino as well.

But it's clear that we'll have to mask our shortcomings in order to overcome our upcoming opponents. We're simply not that good.

I disagree about Zivkovic. He might lack a little bit physically but he works hard, tracks back and can break up plays. He's had to improve defensively since being moved centrally at Benfica. The reason he didn't play as much earlier is because their coach had his own preferences (which most fans disagreed with btw) - he's been a regular after Krovinovic's injury.
Ruí Vitoria didn't use Živković for tactical reasons. His defensive game wasn't up to the required level and a coach always thinks first about the team since his job depends on it. It's a well known thing in Benfica-circles. Krovinović on the other hand is a proper box-to-box midfielder who can play as a "interior" as they call it on the Iberian Peninsula. And it's not a matter of physicality with Živković, it's a matter of not doing the job properly to 100%, cheating a bit, it doesn't work on the highest level. Just like the case is with Tadić, Ljajić and even Kostić. The latter probably does most tracking back (and is best at it too) of all these players but it doesn't mean he's any good at it.

I don't think he was ever bad defensively either since I've followed him on the youth teams. For example, he was a big contributor to the excellent pressing we played under Paunovic at the U20 WC. Check out who creates the game winning goal against Brazil by defending deep in our half late into extratime and continuing his run.
Youth football is one thing, senior level football another thing. Let's get this straight. I like Živković. He's by far the best set-piece taker on this team and here I'm actually talking about corner kicks and freekicks for others to attack through headers etc. He's been a bit unfortunate lately since he's not really been playing close to goal where he has his strengths but he's also the player who's most capable of beating his opponent 1-on-1. His crossing is excellent, especially the low pressured crosses. He's a player I appreciate a lot and think will go far as soon as he improves his overall game but he lacks tactical intelligence and isn't a natural defender. Tactical intelligence is very important in these tournaments where one mistake or even half a mistake will cost you dearly.

There's also a sequence where Živković doesn't do the job properly all the way and Andreas Pereira gets a great chance to score for Brazil in that very same game. Because he doesn't defend until the very end.
 

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Zeko lopove...
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Zoric, you hit upon a point that worries me the most currently; we don't look great in a 4-2-3-1 in terms of defensive cohesion. This was a problem under Mihajlovic and it seems to be the same thing, at least in the game versus Chile.

That's one of the main things I noticed in our game versus them, and a lot of Chile's passing was opened up when we'd press with the front three but the central midfielders wouldn't do a great job of tracking their man, so it was left one Chilean open and that's how they'd come out of the back. It's so critical if we're going to press with the front three, as Krstajic has set out to do, that the space to the defense as you point out is as tight as possible without giving a ton of space in the back that a simple over the top ball would expose. This would be mitigated by Milenkovic dropping a bit further back of the central defensive pair.

So when we press on the left wing we look like

GK

DR DC Mitrovic DC DL
Kostic SMS Zivkovic

MR MC MC ML
Kolarov Matic Milivojevic Rukavina

Ivanovic

Milenkovic​

However, this, at even a decent level takes time to implement. It took my team 6 months to really understand how to press collectively and when the forward is required to press and when he should drop to mark out the defensive midfielder.

It all starts with the forward, and if the link between the forward line and midfield is not there, we will struggle. That's what was so exposed to me in the Chile game. You can almost deal with the defensive frailty at this stage, but if I was Krstajic I would be highly focused on how we press as a unit, because we did that relatively well during the qualifiers but it's gone away from us a bit.
 

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Krstajic is too emotional for this job, feel bad for the guy because you can tell that he genuinely loves the NT but hes clearly in way over his head. Hopefully the players have enough experience and talent to grind out a couple results.

For those saying that they wish Muslin was still in charge, I would rather crash out in the group stages than not have Sergej for the next 10 years. With all due respect to Muslin.
 

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Zeko lopove...
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Krstajic is too emotional for this job, feel bad for the guy because you can tell that he genuinely loves the NT but hes clearly in way over his head. Hopefully the players have enough experience and talent to grind out a couple results.

For those saying that they wish Muslin was still in charge, I would rather crash out in the group stages than not have Sergej for the next 10 years. With all due respect to Muslin.
Agreed. SMS will be one of our pillars for the next 5-10 years.

Also, in regards to Krstajic... that's the impression I get as well. Completely! You can see by his responses that he is trying to measure himself and come across as a leader.

Hopefully the tactical staff that's working behind the scenes does the job, because something tells me that before our games Krstajic will have the motivation speeches down. He strikes me as a natural leader, and someone our players will really respect.
 
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