World Cup - Scotland's qualification hopes ended by Serbia

World Cup qualifying Group A, Karadjordje Stadium, Novi Sad - Serbia 2 (Djuricic 60, 65) Scotland 0

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World Cup - The only European team that can no longer qualify
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Scotland slumped to another disappointing defeat, this time at the hands of Serbia who secured a convincing 2-0 win over Gordon Strachan’s side in Novi Sad.

Scotland became the first European nation to be eliminated from the running for the 2014 World Cup after slumping to another disappointing qualifying defeat, 2-0 to Serbia in Novi Sad.

The defeat means Scotland have now passed the mid-point of their worst ever World Cup qualification campaign, having lost their last four competitive games, leaving them slumped at the foot of the group with just two points from six fixtures and with no chance of catching joint leaders Belgium or Croatia.

With heavy snow in Novi Sad threatening the match a number of travelling Scotland supporters helped clear the pitch to ensure kick-off would go ahead as scheduled.

Strachan made six changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Wales on Friday, with Liam Bridcutt and George Boyd given debuts and Jordan Rhodes handed his first competitive start for the national team.

A dull first half saw neither side create much in the way of clear-cut opportunities but the home side seemed to be shading the early exchanges, with former Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic lively.

As the half wore on Scotland played their way into the contest, although their counter-attacking strategy failed to produce much for lone striker Rhodes or his team-mates.

Scotland found the net just three minutes after the restart when Steven Naismith fired in a left-footed shot but he was adjudged to have been offside when Charlie Adam, who replaced James McArthur at half-time, played the ball to the Everton attacker.

Strachan’s men appeared to be retaining possession better and looking more dangerous in attack, with Adam energetic influence in the centre of midfield.

Rhodes was presented with his first good chance of the evening when a mis-kick from Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic saw the Blackburn Rovers striker given space and time 20 yards out. But his effort was saved comfortably.

However, it was Serbia who struck the first blow just before the hour mark when Djuricic stabbed home from close range after a series of poor clearances by the Scottish backline.

And the home side doubled their advantage five minutes later when Djuricic grabbed his second after a slack pass from Gary Caldwell and good pressing from Nenad Tomovic, with the full-back’s shot breaking to Djuricic to tap into the empty net.

Chris Burke and Kenny Miller were introduced to the action with just less than 10 minutes of play remaining but Scotland never looked like recovering and indeed fell to a dismal defeat in Serbia, with their World Cup qualification campaign in tatters.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Filip Djuricic (Serbia): The Heerenveen attacker, who will move to Benfica in the summer, proved a handful for the Scottish backline and took his somewhat straightforward opportunities when presented with them. Displayed the sort of cutting edge Scotland lacked all night.

PLAYER RATINGS

Serbia - Stojkovic 6, Ivanovic 7, Nastasic 6, Subotic 5, Tomovic 6, Basta 6, Fejsa 7, Milivojevic 5, Tosic 7, Tadic 6, Djuricic 9.

Scotland - Marshall 5, Whittaker 6, Hanley 7, Caldwell 5, Hutton 5; McArthur 5, Bridcutt 6; Boyd 6, Naismith 7, Maloney 5; Rhodes 6

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

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