Superstition is rooted in the Serbian way of life. So much so, that a long list of folk customs still exists today, especially in rural areas. Ana Ivanovic, the country’s best female tennis player, will avoid stepping on the court’s tramlines. He believes he will lose his match if he does so. One of the stories of more and more old wives is the belief that whistling at home will attract rats or wash the clothes of someone traveling to make sure they never return home.
While all of this may seem silly to some, Nigo’s interest in them has nurtured national television stars – one claiming to be Cleopatra, a transgender prophet, and the other a card reader named Milan Tarot, Barack Obama and Bill Gates. .
So, you can imagine how the Serbian media reacted to the discovery of the WhatsApp conversation between standard league goalkeeper and Lazio midfielder Sergei Milinkovic-Savic’s brother Van Milinkovic-Savic before Serbia’s Euro 2020 semi-final play-off victory. Norway.
“Come on, give me two goals,” Brother Vancha asked in a series of messages published in online newspapers yesterday.
Sergei, who scored twice in a 2-1 victory to send the Serbs to victory against Scotland next month – all decisions – had a clear answer of “then I will”.
The Telegraph declared it “unbelievable,” but it seems to be the work of some supernatural force representing Serbia, rather than the words of a confident football player who makes a bold prediction for a family member. “Brotherly love moves the mountains,” Novosti suggested.
Having not scored a single goal for Serbia in the previous 16 international games and starting on the bench, the idea of a lucky warning may have been implemented. Surprisingly, it took Milinkovic-Xavi so long to break his duck internationally. A look at his clinical twin – six-yard volley and overtime cute chip – is enough proof of a mismatch that a Norwegian team comprising global superstar-in-waiting Earling Holland is stunned.
It was overshadowed by Norway’s marginal pre – match favorites home win and their deadly frontman, but, with the exception of one title, the Borussia Dortmund striker had a quiet night out of the line. Holland is not the only emerging genius in Norway. Starlet Martin Odeguard, who once tracked Celtic, is now a full-fledged Real Madrid player. Alexander Sorlot, the top goal scorer in the Turkish league last season, recently joined RB Leipzig, one of the go-to production lines for future players. The list goes on.
Of course, to focus too much on one country’s rich wealth is to run the risk of neglecting another country.
Serbia has been making waves at international youth tournaments over the past decade. The team comprising the Milinkovic-Savic brothers, first-choice goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic and Namanja Maksimovic won the 2015 Under-20 World Cup, beating Brazil 2-1. At the 2013 European Championships, the Under-19s and Under-21s competed in three tournaments equivalent to their age limit.
This did not happen by luck or divine intervention, and Serbia’s prominence in European juvenile football was about design.
Concerned that young children are choosing basketball, tennis and volleyball, the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) launched a campaign called ‘My School – My Team’, the core of which was the national football competition for primary school children. Next, the FSS signed an agreement with the Spanish FA in 2007 to share ideas and establish a series of regular friends at various youth levels. The association scrutinized the structure of the French National Academy in Clarefontaine and the organization run by their Italian rivals in Cavarciano.
Their enthusiastic conclusion was that they needed an academy of their own, so in 2011 they built the ‘House of Football’ – seven state-of-the-art pitches, a sports hall and a hotel in Stara Paso. Twelve more artificial pitches were built across the country to help nurture local talent.
“It was the right decision to invest heavily in youth events,” said former Serbian head coach Radovan Ćurčić. “We still can’t compare to the biggest countries, but Stara Pasova has given us the opportunity to work with all our amazing abilities and train coaches. There are a lot of people involved, and a lot of enthusiasm.”
Not surprisingly, Serbia won a dividend. Five of the 2015 Under-20 World Cup winners were part of the team that beat Norway. Some of it speaks volumes about how strong Serbian football is overall, with another player from that trial-placing line – Liverpool’s Marco Grujic – taking part in an international international recently.
Milinkovic-Savic, who has only been in Lazio in recent seasons due to the astronomical price offered to him by the Rome club, was a replacement in the 81st minute in Oslo.
Quite strangely, he was never a regular in Serbia, yet he maintains the ability to force himself into the conversation about who are the best box-to-box midfielders in the world. It is noteworthy that his goals against Norway are a first for his country as he is a regular contributor to Serie A, averaging every 5.5 games. Now 25, he has fallen behind the high expectations surrounding him following his 14-goal season of 2017-18.
He’s a muscular opponent, number eight every inch today, and some believe he’s better than Paul Pogba. Holland’s departure from the tournament will take away some of the gold dust, but it will also give Milinkovic-Xavi the opportunity to hone his best skills. Serbia also looks forward to next summer as an opportunity to make a real impact on the Euro 2020 group, which includes England, Croatia and the Czech Republic, at a major tournament – this time at the senior level.
On November 12, only Scotland were on their way to Serbia in Belgrade.
Good luck or not, expect Cleopatra and Milan Tarot to be busy a month in advance.