Serbia vs Northern Ireland preview

March 24, 2011
By: Frank Beresford

Serbia prepare to host Northern Ireland in front of the empty stands at Marakana, in a match that will have a big significance for both sides.

Serbia had a very poor start to the Euro 2012 qualifiers under new boss Vladimir Petrovic, having picked up just four points from as many games and they simply have to win this game in order to remain in contention for the second place in the group.

The new boss faced big selection problems before the Northern Ireland game since Danko Lazovic and Aleksandar Lukovic decided to retire from international football, although the latter is expected to reconsider his decision.

On top of that, Nemanja Vidic, Pavle Ninkov, Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Dragan Mrdja all miss out through injury, while Nikola Zigic remains injury doubt.

Serbia squad:

Goalkeepers: Bojan Jorgačević (KAA Gent), Željko Brkić (FK Vojvodina), Bojan Šaranov (OFK Beograd).

Defenders: Branislav Ivanović (Chelsea FC), Nenad Tomović (US Lecce), Milan Biševac (Valenciennes FC), Neven Subotić (Borussia Dortmund), Slobodan Rajković (Vitesse), Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City FC), Ivan Obradović (Real Zaragoza).

Midfielders: Dejan Stanković (FC Internazionale Milano), Nenad Milijaš (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Radosav Petrović (FK Partizan), Veseljko Trivunović (OFK Beograd), Miloš Ninković (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Miloš Krasić (Juventus), Marko Mirić (FK Spartak Zlatibor voda), Zoran Tošić (PFC CSKA Moskva), Adem Ljajić (ACF Fiorentina), Miralem Sulejmani (AFC Ajax).

Forwards: Marko Pantelić (Olympiacos FC), Nikola Žigić (Birmingham City FC), Milan Jovanović (Liverpool FC), Brana Ilić (FK Vojvodina).

Northern Ireland, on the other hand, pretty much impressed at the start of the Euro 2012 qualifiers, having beaten Slovenia away and shared spoils with Italy, but the 1:1 draw with minnows Faroe Islands came as a big blow to their ambitions.

Nigel Worthington’s side also played two friendly games, sharing spoils with Morocco before losing 3:0 to Scotland and they are now hoping to rediscover the form that served them so well in the opening games.

Nottingham Forest keeper Lee Camp is expected to start after 39-year-old Maik Taylor was ruled out of the game, while Rangers midfielder Steven Davis is also out.

Northern Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Maik Taylor (Birmingham City FC), Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest FC), Jonathan Tuffey (Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC), Alan Blayney (Linfield FC).

Defenders: Jonathan Evans (Manchester United FC), Stephen Craigan (Motherwell FC), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool FC), Gareth McAuley (Ipswich Town FC), Aaron Hughes (Fulham FC), Lee Hodson (Watford FC), Adam Thompson (Watford FC).

Midfielders: Chris Baird (Fulham FC), Grant McCann (Peterborough United FC), Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion FC), Jonny Gorman (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Corry Evans (Manchester United FC), Steven Davis (Rangers FC), Niall McGinn (Celtic FC), Sammy Clingan (Coventry City FC), Pat McCourt (Celtic FC).

Forwards: David Healy (Rangers FC), Warren Feeney (Oldham Athletic FC), Kyle Lafferty (Rangers FC), Liam Boyce (SV Werder Bremen).

Serbia are hot favourites to win this one with price on home win 1.53 (8/15) at William Hill, whereas Northern Ireland are 2.60 (8/5) at 888Sport not to lose the game.

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