MX23RW : Friday, July 30 22:52:22| >> :600:4350902:4350902:
Mar 24, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadion Rajko Mitić
Rep. IrelandRepublic of Ireland
Vlahovic (40'), Mitrovic (69', 75')
Pavlovic (89')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Browne (18'), Collins (86')

Preview: Serbia vs. Republic of Ireland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's World Cup 2022 qualifier between Serbia and Republic of Ireland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Familiar foes Serbia and Republic of Ireland face off Red Star Stadium on Wednesday evening as both nations get their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign under way.

The two countries were in the same group in the previous World Cup qualifying campaign and will both be looking to match their top-two finishes this time around.

Match preview

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny pictured on November 15, 2020© Reuters

Serbia pipped Ireland to top spot four years ago and the Boys in Green then suffered the ultimate heartbreak by losing their playoff to Denmark.

Ireland are third seeds this time around, behind Serbia and Group A favourites Portugal, so Stephen Kenny will have his work cut out to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Kenny's tenure has not exactly gone to plan thus far, with Ireland failing to win any of the eight games he has taken charge of since succeeding Mick McCarthy.

That winless run includes another qualifying playoff loss, this time to Slovakia on the road to Euro 2020, as well as three draws and three losses in their Nations League campaign.

Expectation levels are not exactly high at the start of this latest campaign, then, as Ireland seek a first win - competitive or non-competitive - since November 2019.

Luka Jovic celebrates scoring for Serbia in November 2020© Reuters

Serbia are not in much better shape, though, even if they did win their last competitive game 5-0 against Russia four months ago.

The Eagles finished third in their Nations League group and lost to Scotland in their Euro 2020 qualifying playoff, making 2020 a year to forget.

Placed in a favourable group this time around, however, new boss Dragan Stojkovic - formally appointed just this month - will be confident of landing a spot in Qatar.

Taking all competitions into account, Serbia have won just two of their last nine matches, which followed a previous run of four wins in a row.

Now under new management, that is the type of form the Eagles will be looking to repeat to kick off this latest cycle in winning style.

Serbia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W

Republic of Ireland form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Team News

Serbia's Sasa Lukic pictured in September 2019© Reuters

The Euro 2020 qualifying failure brought an end to the cycle in more ways than one for Serbia, with Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic among those to retire.

Stojkovic is looking to put his own spin on things and has left Aleksandar Kolarov and Adem Ljajic out of his first squad.

Serbia still boast plenty of talented players, though, not least up top, where Dusan Tadic, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Luka Jovic are expected to start.

As for Ireland, they have lost Caoimhin Kelleher, Kevin Long, Conor Hourihane and Callum O'Dowda to injury for their upcoming fixtures.

Long's absence should see Ciaran Clark partner Shane Duffy in the heart of defence.

Mark Travers, who has struggled for starts on loan at Swindon Town, is in line to feature in goal due to Darren Randolph not being involved in the squad.

Serbia possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Gudelj, Milenkovic, Mitrovic; Lazovic, Milinkovic-Savic, Lukic, Kostic; Tadic; Jovic, Mitrovic

Republic of Ireland possible starting lineup:
Travers; Coleman, Duffy, Clark, O'Shea; Robinson, Brady, Knight, Hendrick, McClean; Long

SM words green background

We say: Serbia 1-0 Republic of Ireland

Neither side had the best of years last time out, each falling just short in qualifying for Euro 2020 before disappointing Nations League campaigns.

Republic of Ireland have not beaten Serbia in five previous encounters, including their double header in the World Cup 2018 campaign, and we can see the hosts prevailing again on Wednesday.

Top tip

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny pictured on November 15, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States14161141
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia10141034
Great BritainGreat Britain69924
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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