Serbia vs England. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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The footballing pioneers have never been crowned European champions before in their history. Will England manage to start the tournament with a victory over the defiant Serbs?

Serbia will face England in the UEFA EURO 2024 first-round match at the VELTINS-Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The fixture will take place on Monday, June 17, beginning at 00:30 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Serbia News & Current Form: 

The Serbian national team will participate in the European Championship for the first time in history —only the Yugoslav national team reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2000. In the 21st century, the White Eagles failed to qualify five times in a row. They came closest to reaching the continental tournament in 2020: they overcame Norway in the play-offs (2:1) but stumbled against Scotland. Regular time ended in a draw (1:1), and the British were stronger in the penalty shootout (5:4). At the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the team of Dragan Stojković failed to advance from the group stage, but they left a memorable impression with their vibrant football: the matches against Cameroon (3:3) and Switzerland (2:3) were quite worthy of playoff level. Despite the clear failure in the final part of the Mundial, the Serbian mentor remained in charge of the national team for another cycle.

Aleksandar Mitrović keeps showing excellent form in all competitions

In the current qualifying cycle, the collective resolved all issues directly: it seemed that the Balkan team had lucked out with the qualifying group, but they ultimately finished second in a group with Hungary, Montenegro, Lithuania, and Bulgaria. The Whites lost twice to the group leaders with identical scores of 1:2 and dropped points a couple of times against the Bulgarians (1:1, 2:2), who finished last. They won the rest of the matches. The main heroes of the national team in qualification were Aleksandar Mitrović and Dušan Tadić, the Al-Hilal SFC forward recorded a 5+1 in “goals + assists,” and the Fenerbahçe SK midfielder a 2+4. Additionally, Dušan Vlahović scored three goals, and Filip Mladenović made three assists.

The biggest setback for Stojković’s team in 2024 remains the thrashing by Russia (0:4). However, an early red card greatly influenced the result — Milan Gajić received a straight red card in the 21st minute. In the second friendly in March, Serbia defeated Cyprus (1:0). In June, the Eagles played two friendly matches: at the beginning of June, they lost to Austria (1:2), despite creating more scoring opportunities and having a twofold advantage in attacks.

The second match of the first month of summer was against Sweden, and here the result was more than impressive: a 3:0 victory. Tadić, Mitrović and Sergej Milinković-Savić confirmed their status as leaders of this team. However, the situation was somewhat different: the Swedes attacked more and shot at goal frequently but lacked sharpness. Conversely, the Balkans capitalized on their few chances and even managed to keep their gate empty.

It is worth noting that Stojković’s squad is quite solid. Milinković-Savić and Mitrović, despite moving to Al-Hilal, maintain the quality of play and interact well. Moreover, the Balkans have other key players: Vlahović has finally adapted at Juventus and started scoring consistently, Nemanja Maksimović plays well in La Liga, and Tadić still has great vision, creating beauty in Turkey. In short, the Serbian team boasts an excellent attack — unfortunately, the Balkans cannot boast of stars in defence. Additionally, excessive nervousness and lack of discipline will prevent the team from achieving outstanding results.

In the XXI century, the national teams have crossed paths only once – in June 2003, England won a friendly game, which was held at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. Steven Gerrard opened the scoring in the 35th minute, and Nenad Jestrovic equalized shortly before the half-time whistle. Joe Cole scored the decisive goal in the 83rd minute from a free kick. Gareth Southgate took part in that game: the current coach of the Three Lions came into the starting line-up and was replaced by John Terry at half-time.

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England News & Current Form: 

Since the arrival of Gareth Southgate, England has consistently been just steps away from victory in major tournaments. At the 2018 World Cup, his team stumbled in the semi-finals, and at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, it was the missed penalties by young players that decided the outcome. Harry Kane’s missed penalty shocked the entire nation at the last World Cup, allowing the French to progress. Now, the England national team has everything it needs to win its first trophy since 1966: firstly, the most expensive squad in the world, valued at €1.5 billion, and secondly, a wealth of experience from previous tournaments.

The team boasts one of the brightest attacks in the Euros — just look at the names. The attack is led by Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, and Cole Palmer, all in excellent form and enjoying the best periods of their careers. There are also Ollie Watkins, Jarrod Bowen, and Anthony Gordon. As a result, there was no room in the squad for Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford, even though both were part of the squad for the last two major tournaments, Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup. The coach explained this decision by stating that other players had performed better this season, especially in the second half, and he took responsibility for trusting less high-profile but effective young players.

Despite an excellent season Jack Grealish of Manchester City didn’t get an invitation to the national team

However, the exclusion of the Manchester City winger still shocked everybody, even the players: according to the media, one of the senior team members even approached Southgate personally to try to understand and explain this decision to his teammates. It is noted that there are no hints of any quarrel or conflict within the team. Harry Maguire will miss the European Championship due to a calf injury. However, there is a place in the squad for another injured Manchester United FC defender, Luke Shaw. He has a hip issue, but the coach hopes the full-back will be ready for the second game of the group stage.

The Three Lions have started the new qualifying campaign as expected of favourites: they won all four matches with an aggregate score of 15:1. First, they took revenge on Italy for the Wembley final, earning three points in Naples (2:1), with Kane scoring the decisive penalty and simultaneously becoming England’s all-time top scorer. Next, Southgate’s boys produced three consecutive meetings without a conceded goal, scoring more frequently in each round. Two precise strikes were enough for a home victory over Ukraine, and they doubled that tally against Malta away. But the most significant thrashing was reserved for North Macedonia, who suffered a 7:0 defeat at Old Trafford. In the following four matches, the White and Blues stumbled only twice — drawing with Ukraine (1:1) and North Macedonia (1:1) in the inconsequential final round. In between, they again defeated Italy (3:1) and Malta (2:0).

In eight matches, the British scored 22 goals, placing them among the six highest-scoring teams in the qualifiers, along with Belgium and Switzerland, with only Spain (25), France (29), and Portugal (36) scoring more. It’s worth noting that Switzerland and Portugal played 10 games each. England’s defence is also solid — conceding just four goals, only surpassed by France (3) and Portugal (2).

However, despite their status, the White and Blues’ four friendly matches haven’t been entirely smooth. They secured only one win against a clear underdog — Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a 3:0 scoreline, courtesy of Palmer, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Kane. Some of these goals were hardly deserved, coming at the very end of the match under fortuitous circumstances (a deflection leading to a goal in the 89th minute). This occurred despite the hosts’ complete domination and deserving of their goals. Additionally, the team faced European mid-tier teams and top competitors in the tournament. Among these, England drew 2:2 with Belgium in the last qualifier, lost 0:1 to Brazil, and recently even lost 0:1 to Iceland.

Serbia form guide: L-D-L-W-L-W

England form guide: W-D-L-D-W-L

Serbia vs England Predicted XI:

Serbia’s possible starting lineup (3-4-1-2): V. Milinkovic-Savic; Veljkovic, Milenkovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Maksimovic, Lukic, Kostic; S. Milinkovic-Savic, Tadic; Mitrovic.

England’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Alexander-Arnold, Rice; Saka, Bellingham, Foden; Kane.

Statistical preview of the match Serbia vs England:

  • The Serbian national team holds 33rd place in the FIFA ranking of national squads, while the English collective is ranked 4th.
  • Serbia’s First XI average age is 28.4 years, and England’s First XI average age is 27.5 years.
  • Daniele Orsato has been appointed as the centre referee. The match official has already served 23 games this season, showing an average of 4.6 yellow cards and also whistles 22.6 fouls per game. 
  • In 4 out of 5 matches England have conceded first.
  • In 8 of Serbia’s 10 matches, more than 2.5 goals have been scored.
  • England are unbeaten in their last 6 away games in European Championship competition.
  • Serbia and England have never won the Euros before.
  • In the four friendlies before the Euros, England have only one win.
  • In the last 5 games, England conceded an average of 1.00 goals per game and scored an average of 1.20 goals per game. 
  • In their last 5 games, Serbia conceded an average of 1.60 goals per game and scored an average of 1.40 goals per game.
  • Since December 2007, only for 4 months, the Serbian national team has been managed by a non-citizen. And that short period after the 2014 World Cup became a stain on the reputation of Dick Advocaat, given the failed results.

What has been said before the match:

Dusan Vlahovic of Serbia is gearing up for the ultimate challenge, ready to face the mighty England in the EURO finals:

“No one is invincible, We looked at the match against Iceland and there are things that can be copied from them, because they beat them at Wembley in front of 80,000 people. Everything is possible. They are the favourites, maybe the biggest in the tournament, but we believe in ourselves and we are going step by step to present ourselves in the best light. The atmosphere in the team is great and it can only get better, so we are all happy and can’t wait for the game to start.”

“It’s certainly different from Qatar. It’s easier for us that there is not so much euphoria. Sometimes a bit of unreality comes out of the euphoria, like when we qualified and everyone thought we were going to the semi-finals in Qatar. This way we have a calmer environment and can prepare more serenely for the upcoming matches. We are here to compete and get a result.”

He acknowledges the formidable presence of Harry Kane, noting:

“Harry Kane scored 44 goals this year and has scored over 300 goals in his career. He is, at the moment, if not the best striker in the world then one of the best. So I don’t want to put pressure on myself and don’t want to compare myself with players like this, because he has played at this level for around 10 years and is one of the best ever.”

“Of course, it will be a chance for me because I play with no pressure: everybody is expecting England to win the Euros so it is a good opportunity. But I don’t want to compare with strikers like him.”

Everton FC goalie Jordan Pickford reflects on the journey and pressure of being part of the England squad, saying: 

“There was no pressure on us in Russia in 2018. To be a top, elite team you have got to have pressure. You have got to deal with it. To be one of the favourites, you have got to enjoy that pressure.”

“It is always exciting to be part of England in a major tournament. A lot of hard work behind the scenes, I’ve got to keep performing for the club which I think I have done. I’ve won 61 caps which is a major honour and to be in my fourth tournament.”

It is always exciting to be part of England in a major tournament. A lot of hard work behind the scenes, I’ve got to keep performing for the club which I think I have done. I’ve won 61 caps which is a major honour and to be in my fourth tournament.”

“Clean sheets are key. To get to a final, to win a tournament you have got to have a good clean sheet record. For us, it’s about getting as many clean sheets as we can because everybody in the room knows the ability we have up top.”

Focusing on the immediate tasks, he says,

“The most important thing for us is to win the first game, get out of the group, game by game, and focus on each game as it comes because you can’t look too far ahead.”

“Everyone’s goal is to lift that trophy but it takes a hell of a lot of hard work to get there. There’ll be nothing more proud to lift that trophy and to bring it home for the fans but there is so much hard work to do first.”

Aware of the threats posed by Serbia, he remarks, “Aleksandar Mitrovic up top is a quality player. I played against him a lot of times in the Premier League. We’ve just got to be ready for them and every individual role, we’ve got to be prepared and do our best to keep them at bay.”

Serbia vs England Prediction:

The Three Lions are considered the favourites to win Euro 2024, although they have shown unconvincing football in recent friendlies. Perhaps Gareth Southgate has been focusing on experimenting, trying out certain link-ups, testing strategies — anything that will help him fine-tune the playstyle to win in official matches. Either way, the defeat to Iceland came as a shock, as England fielded a squad that was as close as possible to the one that will play at Euro 2024. 

Southgate is often criticised for his overly cautious approach, even though he has one of the world’s most impressive attacks. England have not won by two goals in 75 per cent of their encounters since qualifying. But for the sake of results, the Three Lions coach is prepared to do anything – even make Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham spend most of their time behind the ball. The first match will show the earnestness of England’s intentions, with their chances of winning being pretty good – primarily due to the individual prowess of the players in the centre of the pitch and the attacking edge. Goals should not be a problem – on the official level, England has not left the pitch without a goal in 11 consecutive matches. But the defence, which has conceded for 5 matches in a row, still needs to find stability and reliability, without which it is unlikely to succeed in this tournament.

Serbs are fierce, threatening and unpredictable. They have scored at least 1 goal in 10 of their last 10 matches, and in 9 of their last 10 matches, they have never lost by more than one goal. The Eagles have a competitive gene, absolutely incomparable, which, however, can be overshadowed by the team’s inherent anarchy. We’ve already seen that in Qatar. Milinkovic-Savic, Tadic, Vlahovic, Mitrovic and Kostic are key players for Serbia to get results. That’s what happened in the last friendly where three different players had scored a goal each, which helped the Balkans beat Sweden 3-0. This will surely give the necessary confidence boost. Dragan Stojković does not structure the game around a certain figure, which means that the Serbian team has plenty of variation. Nevertheless, unnecessary nervousness and lack of discipline may prevent them from achieving a positive result, as the defensive play leaves much to be desired.

Serbs will be able to give a decent rebuff to the favourites and make their life as difficult as possible, the opening matches are usually tense and not the richest in goals. Still, the pragmatic men from Foggy Albion will be able to start the Euro 2024 campaign with a victory in their style – without excessive glitz, without unnecessary risk, but with conviction.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: England will win and the match total will be less than 3.5 – Yes.

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