Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic admitted his side couldn’t compete with a ‘footballing powerhouse’ after his side were dumped out of the World Cup following a 2-0 defeat to Brazil.
Knowing a win would’ve confirmed their place in the last 16 for the first time in their current guise, goals either side of half time from Paulinho and Thiago Silva meant Serbia had to settle for third place in Group E.
In the wake of the defeat to the five-time World Cup winners, Krstajic acknowledged post-match
that his team were punished for having to open up against a side with the talent that Brazil possess.
As quoted by ESPN, Krstajic said: “We went out to win against a powerhouse in modern football and we came up short. I congratulate my players for their brave efforts, their attitude to the badge and the jersey.
“We pressed high and in the second half we tried to take risks…But it’s very difficult to play such an open game against such a football powerhouse like Brazil.
“That’s how it goes in football. We had to up our game. We took more risks in the second half. We had our chances but we were punished.”
Despite the premature exit from the World Cup, Krstajic was immensely proud of his side’s efforts in Russia, who were competing in the tournament for the first time since 2010.
Krstajic continued, stating: “The players gave their all. We came to the World Cup to show our true colours after eight years of missing out on major tournaments. We can be very satisfied with our performance.”
Now out the World Cup, Serbia’s attention will turn to qualifying for Euro 2020, bidding to appear at the European Championships for the first time since 2000, when they competed as part of the now defunct FR Yugoslavia.