MX23RW : Friday, July 30 04:56:01| >> :600:211941:211941:
Nov 12, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Stadion Rajko Mitić
SerbiaSerbia
1-1
ScotlandScotland
Jovic (90')
Milenkovic (11'), Gudelj (49')
FT
(aet)
Christie (52')
Gallagher (44')
Scotland win 5-4 on penalties

Preview: Serbia vs. Scotland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifying playoff clash between Serbia and Scotland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Scotland face one of the biggest matches in their entire history on Thursday as they take on Serbia in a Euro 2020 playoff final.

Steve Clarke's men battled past Israel on penalties in the semis, while Serbia saw off Norway in extra time to set up this winner-takes-all clash in Belgrade.


Match preview

Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring for Scotland against Slovakia in the Nations League on October 11, 2020© Reuters

Not since 1998 have Scotland qualified for a major tournament, the subsequent 22 years providing supporters with very little to get excited about.

Thanks to the altered European Championships format, teams now have the chance to qualify via the backdoor and Scotland are looking to grasp that opportunity with both hands.

A turgid affair with Israel at Hampden Park finished goalless after 120 minutes, but Clarke's men held their nerve in the shootout to advance 5-3 on spot kicks.

Scotland have hit form at the perfect time, with that one of seven victories in an eight-match unbeaten run spanning back to October 2019.

Not since September 1976, when going nine without defeat under Willie Ormond, have the Tartan Army enjoyed a better run.

They have kept three successive clean sheets, too, and doing likewise on Thursday evening may well prove key to their hopes of qualifying for the rescheduled Euro 2020 finals.

Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic celebrates with teammates after scoring against Norway in the European playoff semi-finals on October 8, 2020© Reuters

Serbia are unbeaten in their two previous encounters with Scotland, drawing 0-0 and winning 2-0 during qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

Unlike Scotland, though, Serbia do not exactly enter this contest in the best of form. They have won only one of their last six in all competitions - that victory over Norway.

Never before have the Eagles reached the European Championship finals as an independent nation, meaning the chance to create some history this week.

Both sides may have a couple of Nations League fixtures to come during this international window, but it is fair to say that this is the only match that truly matters.

Serbia form (all competitions): DLDWLD

Scotland form (all competitions): WDWWWW


Team News

Scotland's Ryan Fraser celebrates scoring against the Czech Republic in the UEFA Nations League on October 14, 2020© Reuters

Scotland will be without Ryan Fraser and Grant Hanley for their trip to Belgrade after both players pulled out of the squad with injuries.

Fraser's absence could mean Ryan Christie partnering striker Lyndon Dykes, who has scored twice in five appearances at international level.

Kieran Tierney is available for Clarke's men once again and will likely join Scott McKenna and Scott McTominay in a back three.

Midfielder John McGinn is also raring to go as he looks to build on a return of six goals and one assist in four European Championship qualifying appearances.

As for Serbia, they are awaiting the green light from officials for their Serie A contingent to play a part due to coronavirus restrictions.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who scored twice against Norway in the last round, has linked up with his teammates and should therefore be free to start.

Fellow attacker Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 10 goals in Euro qualifying - behind only Harry Kane (12), Cristiano Ronaldo and Eran Zahavi (11 each).

Milos Veljkovic and Filip Djuricic will definitely play no part, however, with the latter testing positive for coronavirus.

Serbia possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Milenkovic, Pavlovic, Kolarov; Lazovic, Maksimovic, Gudelj, Ristic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic; Mitrovic

Scotland possible starting lineup:
Marshall; McTominay, McKenna, Tierney; O'Donnell, McGinn, Jack, McGregor, Robertson; Christie, Dykes


SM words green background

We say: Serbia 2-1 Scotland

Scotland enter this game in better form than Serbia yet are still considered the underdogs as they seek to reach their first tournament finals in 23 years.

The hosts have plenty of firepower in their ranks, not least in the shape of Mitrovic and Milinkovic-Savic, and we can see that making all the difference on Thursday.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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Newcastle United's Ryan Fraser celebrates scoring against Blackburn on September 15, 2020
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ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

ROWING
· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
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SWIMMING
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· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
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TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
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