FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Serbia played their first official international match as an independent nation on 16 August 2006, beating Czech Republic 3-1 away. Before then, they had been part of two countries that now no longer participate: Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro. Serbia's inaugural independent FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign was for South Africa 2010, and they surprisingly booked their ticket to the tournament after emerging from a group with France, Austria, Lithuania, Romania and Faroe Islands. However, once there, the Beli Orlovi (White Eagles) were unable to make it past the group stage. Serbia failed to reach Brazil 2014 after posting four wins, two draws and four defeats in a qualifying group with Belgium, Croatia, Scotland, Wales and Macedonia.

The team
Much like their predecessors, the current Serbia side are among Europe’s best in terms of technique, and the squad boasts a number of first-rate players, the majority of whom play in some of the continent’s top leagues in England, Italy and Germany. For example, Branislav Ivanovic is not only one of Serbia’s most experienced players, he is also one of the best full-backs in the Premier League. Aleksandar Kolarov and Matija Nastasic help him form a solid rearguard, while Filip Djuricic and Danko Lazovic are dangerous up front.

The coach
After Dick Advocaat stepped down, Radovan Curcic took over on an interim basis on 18 November 2014 for Serbia’s friendly against Greece. A few days later he was appointed permanent head coach, signing a deal until 2018. Curcic was assistant to national team coach Vladimir Petrovic between 2010 and 2011, and stepped in as caretaker for five games after the latter’s dismissal. In 2013 he was handed the reins of Serbia’s U-21 side and managed to qualify for the UEFA U-21 European Championship 2015 after surprisingly beating defending champions Spain in the play-offs. 

The stat
– The number of World Cup tournaments Serbia have participated in. Between 1930 and 1998 Yugoslavia took part in nine finals; Serbia and Montenegro played at Germany 2006 and four years later Serbia reached South Africa.

The former stars
Stjepan Bobek, Dragan Dzajic, Branko Zebec, Mateja Kezman, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Savo Milosevic, Dejan Stankovic