Serbia beat Costa Rica 1-0 on Sunday in their FIFA World Cup group E preliminary round football (soccer) match in Samara, Russia.
Serbia captain Aleksandar Kolarov – named Budweiser Man of the Match – scored the winning goal in the 56th minute from a direct free-kick. Kolarov’s effort is the third direct free-kick goal so far at Russia 2018
Aleksander Kolarov’s free kick finish was the only score in Serbia’s 1-0 win against Costa Rica in a Group E match at the World Cup Sunday in Samara, Russia. The team’s mix of aggressiveness and creativity in midfield was the driving force of the win, with the foul that led to Kolarov’s free-kick winner coming after an inspired Milinkovic-Savic run
The Costa Ricans and Serbians played a scoreless first half at Samara Arena, with Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas and Serbia’s Vladimir Stojkovic standing strong between the goalposts.
That was all before Kolarov took control in the 56th minute. The Serbian defender stepped up for a free kick with the game tied 0-0. He approached the ball about 30 yards from the goal. Kolarov ran up and booted the kick with his left foot, bending it over a wall at the 20-yard mark and inside the near post.
The shot cruised over a diving Navas, beating the keeper to his left and giving Serbia the decisive score.
Costa Rica had opportunities in the first half and they did not take advantage of them. In the second half, Serbia were more confident and scored the decisive goal. This game was about efficacy and accuracy and some players of Costa Rica did not have that this time. Their attackers were isolated throughout the second half and they did not create enough opportunities to score. This was a chess match that Serbia won.
Serbia had 53 percent of the possession in the match. Each team had 10 total shots, with three going on target for each side.
Serbia’s last four World Cup wins have been by the score of 1-0. Before today’s match, Serbia’s last three World Cup wins (including when they played as Yugoslavia) were won by that scoreline: v Germany in 2010, v IR Iran and USA in 1998.
Costa Rica and Serbia played the first match of Sunday’s slate. Germany and Mexico face off in the second contest, while Brazil and Switzerland play in the day’s finale.
Serbia battles Switzerland in another Group E clash at 2 p.m. Friday in Kaliningrad, Russia. Costa Rica faces Brazil at 8 a.m. Friday in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.