Aleksandar Kolarov described Serbia’s World Cup meeting with Brazil as the biggest game of his career while coach Mladen Krstajic promised a fearless approach from his side.
Following their dramatic 2-1 reverse to Switzerland last time out, Serbia will likely need a win against the five-time champions if they are to have any chance of progressing from Group E.
A draw could be enough if Switzerland lose to Costa Rica, who are already eliminated after two defeats without scoring.
Captain Kolarov, who netted the only goal against Costa Rica with a stunning free-kick in the opening game in Samara, believes Wednesday’s clash in Moscow will be the pinnacle of his time as a professional.
“My personal opinion is this is my career’s final, this is the most important game in my career and this is how I’m going to approach it,” he told a media conference.
“The players know what it’s all about, the fact we’re at the World Cup we know it’s a global stage and maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to shine.
“When you play an opponent you want to play the best in the world. You have to really test your mettle with the best, I’m sure we’re going to be prepared for that and enjoy the moment.”
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Krstajic added: “We are in a tough group but we’ve shown quality in the past two matches, we have a mix of seasoned players like Kolarov and the young lads who are the future of Serbian football who will play for another 10 to 12 years.
“Tomorrow we have nothing to lose, we may lose the game but if we’re not ready to give our all in the 90 minutes then we will have lost. You may lose but you must not shirk your responsibility.
“We have no fear playing against Brazil but we have to be patient, disciplined and play as a team. What will happen on the pitch is another matter, we have to satisfy the Serbian nation and the fans.
“We have nothing to be afraid of, we will not be ashamed if we give our all but we will be if we don’t give everything, our players approach this game without any fear because they’re ready.”
Brazil talisman Neymar attracted attention for bursting into tears after Brazil’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica on Friday, and Kolarov says he expects emotions to play a part in any game.
“Of course. You have to overcome yourself,” he said. “Tomorrow in footballing terms it’s going to be a very difficult match but the mental preparation is maybe the most important. If Brazil are talking about pressure on them then you can imagine what kind of pressure is on us but this is football.
“We can cope with that, I think that the mental element will be the deciding factor in the match. If we enter the match with the belief we can win, you have to ask yourself what you’re ready to do to get a win, if we’re mentally prepared to win the game we will do it.”
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