Serbia qualified for the European Championship for the first time on Sunday. The team of captain and former Ajax player Dusan Tadic only needed a draw in the last round of group G and won that point against Bulgaria: 2-2.
Things seemed to go wrong for a while for Serbia, which fell behind 1-2 at home. After Milos Veljkovic’s 1-0, Bulgaria, which had already been eliminated, surprisingly took the lead after the break thanks to Georgi Rusev and Kiril Despodov.
Competitor Montenegro had drawn 0-1 against already placed Hungary, but almost simultaneously fell behind 2-1 with Bulgaria’s goals. This already looked good for the Serbs, who removed the last uncertainty about a European Championship ticket against the Bulgarians with a goal from Srdan Babic.
Three former Eredivisie players were in the starting line-up for Serbia: Tadic, Nemanja Gudelj, Filip Kostic and Filip Djuricic. Tadic and Gudelj played the entire match for national coach Dragan Stojkovic’s team.
Serbia is attending the European Championships for the first time since it became an independent country in 2006. In 1960, 1968, 1976, 1984 the Serbs were there as part of Yugoslavia and in 1996 under the flag of Serbia and Montenegro.
Behind Hungary and Serbia, group members Montenegro, Lithuania and Bulgaria can forget about their participation in next year’s European Championships in Germany. They are no longer eligible for a spot in the play-offs.