Thursday, June 1, 2023

Prediction: Serbia vs Lithuania

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 23 Mar 2023


Verdict: Aleksandar Mitrovic to score first

Best odds: 41/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Serbia and Lithuania will begin their respective Euro qualifying campaigns on Friday evening when they face each other in Group G of the UEFA region, which also contains Hungary, Bulgaria and Montenegro. It’s an interesting pack with no clear favourites, and every team will feel they have a chance, as good as it gets, of reaching the main tournament next year.


Serbia left the World Cup in Qatar after the group stage, and they will have been thoroughly disappointed to have finished bottom of their group after harbouring hopes of reaching the knockout round. Nonetheless, as the highest ranked team (29th in the FIFA rankings) in this group, they are as close is possible to being the favourites to win it and they will go into their matches with a point to prove, as well as a decent level of confidence.

While Serbia haven’t enjoyed much success in Euro qualifications in recent years – their last successful campaign got them a place at Euro 2000 together with Montenegro as FR Yugoslavia – they did very well in the last edition of the UEFA Nations League, earning promotion to League A.

On the other hand, there has been some friction within the Serbian FA over the presidential elections recently, with most of the country believed to have voiced support for former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic. However, Vidic eventually withdrew himself from the running, prompting claims he had been forced to do so to make way for 76-year-old Red Star and Yugoslavia legend Dragan Dzajic.

Team News

There was some good news for Serbia and coach Dragan Stojkovic recently too. Lazar Samardzic, who represented Germany as the country of his birth at youth levels from Under-16 to Under-21, chose the country of his origin to represent as a senior international. The 21-year-old Udinese attacking midfielder has therefore joined Stojkovic’s squad and is available for selection.

Strikers Luka Jovic and Nikola Stulic won’t be at Stojkovic’s disposal through injury, and defender Milos Veljkovic, who missed Werder Bremen’s draw away to Borussia Monchengladbach last week with an ankle problem, is expected to miss out as well.

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic has established himself firmly as Serbia’s No. 1 and will be standing between the posts on Friday. Srdjan Babic of Almeria could replace Veljkovic if need be and join Nikola Milenkovic and Strahinja Pavlovic at the back. In midfield, Sasa Lukic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic should be flanked by Andrija Zivkovic and Filip Kostic. Captain Dusan Tadic will roam as a No. 10, with Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic in attack.


Since breaking away from the Soviet Union and becoming an independent country, Lithuania are yet to qualify for a major international tournament, and like Serbia, they will fancy their chances now as much as a barest drop of realism allows them to.

But in order to even dream about a successful campaign, Edgaras Jankauskas’s side must first change their recent fortunes completely around. Never mind major tournaments, Lithuania suffered eight defeats in their last nine games in all competitions, and the only victory they’ve earned in that span was a very narrow one against minnows San Marino. It’s questionable if they have what it takes to buck the trend in Belgrade, but they’ll surely try.

Team News

After losing the third-place play-off match of the Baltic Cup to Estonia, Jankauskas is expected to make some changes to his starting lineup, but the notably defensive 5-4-1 setup should remain in place.

Edvinas Gertmonas should be in goal. Benas Satkus could be joined by Vykintas Slivka and Edvinas Girdvainisat the back as the trio of centre-backs, flanked by Saulius Mikoliunas and Dominykas Barauskas. The midfield should be arranged in a flat line and consist of Arvydas Novikovas, Modestas Vorobjovas, Domantas Simkus and Paulius Golubickas. Fedor Cernych is the man likely to play upfront on his own.


Bookmakers across the globe see Serbia as the favourites to win this match to such an extent that the odds offered hardly make it worth the risk. So if you’re looking for something more challenging and potentially rewarding, going with Aleksandar Mitrovic as the first goalscorer in the game probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Verdict: Aleksandar Mitrovic to score first

Best odds: 41/20

Bookmaker: 888sport


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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