Serbia must dig deep against Denmark, says Tosic

“We expected a lot more at this stage of the qualifying campaign but nothing we planned came to fruition and we now have to start from square one,” CSKA Moscow’s Tosic told reporters at Serbia’s Stara Pazova training base.


Serbia are fourth with one point in Group I, which is led by Denmark on four points.

The match will be played behind closed doors after Serbia were also handed a two-game crowd ban following last month’s abandoned qualifier at home to Albania when a drone stunt triggered a brawl between players and a pitch invasion.

Serbia were awarded a 3-0 walkover win because Albania refused to play on but also had three points deducted after about a dozen Serbian fans attacked Albania players while other home suporters threw various objects onto the pitch.

The incidents started in the first half with the score at 0-0 after a remote-controlled drone carrying the flag of so-called “Greater Albania” flew over Partizan’s Belgrade stadium.


“Had the match with Albania continued I think we would have won but, regardless of the provocation, it is inconceivable that so many fans were able to invade the pitch and turn a football game into a boxing match,” said Tosic.

“We are the ones who will be treated as either heroes or villains depending on whether we qualify for the European Championship or not and we have to beat a very good Denmark side for a start.”

Failure to win would put more pressure on Serbia’s Dutch coach Dick Advocaat, who came under fire after a tepid 1-1 away draw in their opening fixture against Armenia.

His counterpart Morten Olsen is also under the spotlight after an injury-time header by Cristiano Ronaldo gave Portugal a 1-0 win over Denmark at Parken Stadium in October.

Lack of firepower will be Olsen’s main concern after striker Nicklas Bendtner had a quiet game against the Portuguese while IFK Gothenburg forward Lasse Vibe, the Swedish league’s top scorer with 23 goals, was substituted at halftime.

Olsen will also have to field a makeshift defence because centre back Daniel Agger, who joined Brondby during the close season after 8-1/2 years at Liverpool, was ruled out of the clash with a groin injury.

(Atrributes quotes to Tosic in paras 7-8)

(Additional reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Julien Pretot)