Aleksandar Mitrovic in rude health as notches stunning 68 minute hat-trick in final World Cup warm-up
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Serbia had the perfect World Cup send off.
They face Costa Rice in eight days time in their first group match and approach it full of confidence.
It only took Mitro and Serbia two minutes to open the scoring against Bolivia in their final friendly, a header from a corner set-piece.
On 19 minutes it was Ljajic who made it 2-0 and four minutes later it was 3-0 and the second for the Newcastle striker, a right foot shot from inside the box.
Only a few minutes before the break it was Aleksandar Mitrovic the provider, setting up Ivanovic to make it four.
Bolivia got a consolation just after the break but on 68 minutes Mitrovic scored the goal of the match, a right foot effort from outside the box.
The Newcastle forward was subbed straight afterwards and is clearly in rude health as he looks forward to the World Cup campaign kicking off.
The Mag – 8 June 2018:
The Coaches Voice:
Forward, 23, Newcastle United
‘Serbia’s main goal threat, Mitrovic scored six times in qualifying to become the top marksman in Group D.
‘The Newcastle striker, who played a huge role in Fulham’s promotion to the Premier League this season, is capable of scoring all sorts of goals but also an excellent focal point for Serbia’s attacks.
‘He is one of only three players in the World Cup squad – alongside Dusan Tadic and veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic – to have more than 10 goals for Serbia.
‘An imposing figure, Mitrovic began his club career at Teleoptik in his native Serbia. Subsequent stints at Partizan and Anderlecht saw him impress enough to earn a move to the Premier League with Newcastle United.
‘He has spent three seasons at Newcastle, but was loaned out to Fulham – with superb success – for the second half of the most recent season.
‘We can expect to see Aleksandar Mitrovic, still only 23, play a key role for his country in Russia.
The target man for the majority of Serbia’s play, he is good at winning the first ball and bringing others into play – he has a good relationship with fellow attackers Tadic and Kostic, from whose deliveries he can be a major aerial threat.’
‘During qualifying, Serbia set up in a 3-4-3 formation and largely played direct into Aleksandar Mitrovic as the focal point.
‘Since Krstajic has taken charge, however, they have switched to a 4-2-3-1 (sometimes 4-3-3) formation and looked to play through the thirds more regularly. This may well be what we see from Serbia in Russia, although don’t be too surprised if they revert to direct play when they face Brazil in their final group game.
‘What hasn’t changed under the new coach is the use and threat of Mitrovic. He still holds play up really well, albeit now slightly more with his feet than his head, and can still be lethal inside the box.’
To watch Aleksandar Mitrovic and Serbia at the World Cup, these are dates and kick-off times.
They are in World Cup Group E:
Serbia v Costa Rica – 17 June 1pm
Serbia v Switzerland – 22 June 7pm
Serbia v Brazil – 27 June. 7pm
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