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World Cup 2018

Matic and Serbia ready for 'hellish' Switzerland clash

Nemanja Matic said Serbia are braced for a difficult and physical encounter against Switzerland in Group E action on Friday.

Matic and Serbia ready for 'hellish' Switzerland clash
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Nemanja Matic is expecting a "hellish" match against Switzerland as Serbia seek to qualify for the World Cup knockout phase in Russia.

Serbia face Switzerland in Kaliningrad on Friday, knowing victory would seal their passage from Group E after edging Costa Rica 1-0.

Switzerland held World Cup favourites Brazil to a shock draw last week and Manchester United midfielder Matic expects them to provide another tough challenge for Serbia.

"We're aware of what's install for us," Matic told reporters on Thursday. "They have quality throughout. Great individual players. 

"We expect a hellish game but we're ready for anything." 

Matic, who believes Serbian football is enjoying its best moment for almost a decade, added: "Of course we're aware that if we win we would progress. We will do our best but we are facing a very good team in Switzerland. They will also try to be a threat, to win three points.

"They have a lot of quality. We respect them. We will give our best until the end. We have the quality to be a threat against them." 

A draw could be enough for Serbia to advance but Matic and his team-mates have no plans to settle for a share of the spoils.

"They are better than those we qualified against by the fact that they qualified for the World Cup. They suffered only one defeat against Portugal away," he said.

"With respect to a draw, I never start a match hoping for a draw. We always want to win. It's not always possible. They are a very good team. They occupy the sixth place in the rankings. They're the favourites. We respect them but aware of our own qualities." 

Matic and head coach Mladen Krstajic both fronted the media on the eve of the match and the latter knows what to expect against Switzerland.

"They are tactical and technical side. Been together for a long time. Coach [Vladimir Petkovic] has been with them for three-four years too. This is very important for a tournament," said Krstajic.

"We know their strengths and weaknesses. It's going to be a fierce match." 

Krstajic, who described his side as a "dream team", finished off his news conference by saying he will happily sing if Serbia win to move through top the last 16. 


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