Serbia coach expects flying start

Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic expects his goal-shy team to collect at least four points from their opening two World Cup qualifiers away to Scotland and Wales.

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Serbia coach expects flying start
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Sinisa Mihajlovic

The double-header will be the first competitive games in charge for the 43-year-old who came under pressure from fans and media after three defeats and one draw in mid-season friendlies.

Serbia scored just one goal in the process but Mihajlovic was confident after naming his 28-man squad that they could get off to a flying start and qualify for the 2014 event in Brazil from a tough group.

"We are better than both Scotland and Wales and I think we can win both games, but our work rate will have to match our talent because merely turning up won't be enough," he told a news conference on Sunday.

"A win and a draw would also be a good tally while I would certainly be disappointed with two draws," he said. "We all believe we will be among the teams flying to Brazil at the end of a long qualifying road, it's going to be a tough task but we are up for it."

The other three teams in Group A are Serbia's bitter Balkan rivals Croatia as well as Belgium and Macedonia.

If Mihajlovic's men are to live up to his expectations, they will need to show much more creativity in midfield and bite up front and that will be no easy task with his squad already blighted by injuries.

Playmaker Zdravko Kuzmanovic and winger Milos Krasic are both sidelined with long-term injuries while forwards Miralem Sulejmani and Marko Scepovic were named in the squad to make up the numbers despite being unfit.

"They are here to gel with the squad because they are important players in our system and will be a welcome bonus when they return," Mihajlovic said.

Serbia's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Scotland and Wales:

Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Zeljko Brkic (Udinese), Damir Kahriman (Tavriya Symferopol).

Defenders: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), Matija Nastasic (Manchester City), Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City), Nikola Maksimovic (Red Star Belgrade), Milan Bisevac (Olympique Lyon), Aleksandar Lukovic (Zenit St. Petersburg), Nenad Tomovic (Fiorentina), Dusko Tosic (Genclerbirligi).

Midfielders: Srdjan Mijailovic (Red Star Belgrade), Nemanja Matic (Benfica), Milos Ninkovic (Dynamo Kiev), Aleksandar Ignjovski (Werder Bremen), Dusan Basta (Udinese), Ljubomir Fejsa (Olympiakos Piraeus), Radoslav Petrovic (Genclerbirligi), Dusan Tadic (Twente), Filip Djuricic (Heerenveen), Nemanja Tomic (Partizan Belgrade), Zoran Tosic (CSKA Moscow).

Forwards: Darko Lazovic (Red Star Belgrade), Marko Scepovic (Partizan Belgrade), Miralem Sulejmani (Ajax Amsterdam), Lazar Markovic (Partizan Belgrade), Dejan Lekic (Osasuna).

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