Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

Fixtures & Results

Colombia COL 1

Japan JPN 2

REPORT

Poland POL 1

Senegal SEN 2

REPORT

Russia RUS 3

Egypt EGY 1

REPORT

Portugal POR 1

Morocco MAR 0

REPORT

Uruguay URY 1

Saudi Arabia SAU 0

REPORT

Iran IRN 0

Spain ESP 1

REPORT

Denmark DNK 1

Australia AUS 1

REPORT

France FRA 1

Peru PER 0

REPORT

Argentina ARG

Croatia CRO

Brazil BRA

Costa Rica CRI

Nigeria NGA

Iceland ISL

Serbia SRB

Switzerland SUI

Belgium BEL

Tunisia TUN

South Korea KOR

Mexico MEX

Germany GER

Sweden SWE

England ENG

Panama PAN

Japan JPN

Senegal SEN

Poland POL

Colombia COL

Saudi Arabia SAU

Egypt EGY

Uruguay URY

Russia RUS

Spain ESP

Morocco MAR

Iran IRN

Portugal POR

Denmark DNK

France FRA

Australia AUS

Peru PER

Iceland ISL

Croatia CRO

Nigeria NGA

Argentina ARG

Mexico MEX

Sweden SWE

South Korea KOR

Germany GER

Switzerland SUI

Costa Rica CRI

Serbia SRB

Brazil BRA

Senegal SEN

Colombia COL

Japan JPN

Poland POL

Panama PAN

Tunisia TUN

England ENG

Belgium BEL

Home Sport Football

Branislav Ivanovic: Shane Long and Jon Walters were a nightmare to mark

Skipper Branislav Ivanovic saluted Serbia's bravery after they survived a "nightmare" challenge in Dublin to edge their way to the brink of World Cup qualification.

Aleksandar Kolarov's goal secured a 1-0 win over Group D rivals the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday to leave the Serbs four points clear of second-placed Wales and a further point better off than Martin O'Neill's men with just two games to play.

However, they found themselves facing an Irish onslaught, particularly after defender Nikola Maksimovic's 68th-minute dismissal, leaving former Chelsea defender Ivanovic and his defensive colleagues battling to keep the likes of Shane Long and Jonathan Walters at bay.

Ivanovic said: "I know how Premier League football works, but this was the toughest I have ever played against.

"It was a duel all around the pitch, definitely the toughest game we have played so far in the group. I am very proud we showed the courage to come out with the three points.

"We are naturally physical and we have our talents and some of those don't compare with the Irish players and the way they play, especially in the way they attack, but we accept this as natural.

"Both Shane Long and Jon Walters were a nightmare, an absolute handful to mark. I had to stay completely focused on both of them at all times."

Serbia travel to Austria and host Georgia next month, when one win would guarantee automatic qualification and a trip to Russia next summer.

That scenario might have been very different had they buckled in the wake of Maksimovic's premature departure.

Ivanovic said: "I didn't see the sending off incident properly, but he was last man back and in that case with a referee it is usually a red. The referee saw it better than us.

"We were definitely a bit panicky and under pressure after that. We were probably not very composed.

"But this was our dream to go to a World Cup and the players fought for everything. We knew if we lost this game, we would be in real trouble in the group.

"This has been a massive, huge step and we are really happy about the result."

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