DOHA: Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic hopes to find holes in Switzerland’s defences, like in their famous cheese, when they meet in their final World Cup Group ‘G’ game as they bid to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time.

Bottom side Serbia sit two points behind second-placed Switzerland and must win to have any hope of progressing to the last 16, while the Swiss would need only a draw if Cameroon do not beat Brazil.

Asked if Serbia would be up against a Swiss side that ticked over with the precision of their famous watches, Stojkovic said on Thursday he would rather compare them to Swiss cheese and exploit the “holes”.

“We’d really like to talk about their cheese and find their weak spots — the holes — to get the result we aspire to,” Stojkovic told reporters ahead of Friday’s game at Stadium 974.

“We knew after the (group stage) draw was held that Brazil is an entirely different dimension and we would be fighting for second place with Cameroon and Switzerland. These forecasts brought us to this point.

“We knew the match with Switzerland would be of major importance as the last one in the group, and this is what we’re now faced with... We’ve witnessed a lot of surprises at this World Cup, but we will be ready.”

Serbia played the first two group games with just Aleksandar Mitrovic spearheading the attack. Stojkovic said Dusan Vlahovic is fit but would not confirm if the Juventus forward would be named in the starting lineup alongside Mitrovic.

“Vlahovic is ready for the match and his physical state is a lot better than it was when we came to Doha. He could start tomorrow but I cannot share this with you today,” Stojkovic said.

“As for the formation, we will see tomorrow. One, two or three attackers — all options are on the table. Whatever we decide, they have to play together as a team. Since I became head coach, it has always been about team spirit.”

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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