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Serbia hoping to crown Ivanovic's record-breaking day

Omnisport
NEWS
News
323   //    16 Jun 2018, 16:20 IST
BranislavIvanovic - Cropped
Serbia's Branislav Ivanovic

Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic and captain Aleksandar Kolarov were full of praise for Branislav Ivanovic, who is set to make a record-breaking 104th appearance on Sunday.

The Zenit defender will move above Dejan Stankovic as his country's most capped player in their World Cup Group E opener against Costa Rica in Samara.

Ivanovic, who made his debut in 2005, is likely featuring at his last finals at the age of 34 as Serbia look to make it out of a tough-looking group which includes Brazil and Switzerland.

In their pre-match media conference on Saturday, Krstajic and Kolarov both offered kind words to a man who won nine major honours in as many years at Chelsea.

"I don't have to talk about him, god willing he's going to break the record," Krstajic said.

"He's achieved as a footballer quite a lot. He's demonstrated his quality in clubs across Europe and has many titles to his name. He's another extra quality for us and a motivation to give more.

"We want to make his day tomorrow better."

Kolarov added: "As the coach said, Brana is a player who's brought us a lot and hopefully nobody will break his record.

"He's a leader of the team over the past 10 years, we're all happy for him and hopefully he will set a record that nobody else will break because he deserves it."

As captain, Kolarov said he would encourage his colleagues to play free of pressure as they bid to improve on their last World Cup appearance, when they failed to get out of the group eight years ago in South Africa.

"It [the armband] is not an encumbrance, it motivates me to give my all and lead by example," he said. "I will ask my team-mates to be at ease mentally because this is a huge opportunity for the 23 of us to represent our country at the World Cup.

"I will tell them to enjoy their football but we are not going to be satisfied by merely being here. Let's be proud of what we've achieved and maybe we're not even aware of how good we are."

Omnisport
NEWS
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