Russia sends World Cup support to Serbia
The Russian men’s national team have issued a message of support for Serbia ahead of their opening World Cup match in Qatar.
Serbia take on five-time champions Brazil at the Lusail Stadium in Group G of the tournament on Thursday.
It could hardly be a tougher start for Serbian coach Dragan Stojkovic and his team, but they will have outside backing, judging by a social media message from Russia.
“Good luck at the World Cup! We believe in your success brothers!” read a post from the official Russian national team account.
The message was accompanied by an image of respective Russian and Serbian national team captains Georgi Dzhikiya and Dusan Tadic clasping hands.
The Russian team themselves were prevented from attempting to qualify for Qatar due to a FIFA and UEFA ban imposed in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.
The strong cultural and political ties between the two countries mean that many Russian fans will now be backing Serbia as their number one team.
The Serbs booked their own spot in Qatar by topping a European qualifying group which contained Portugal.
They have been rewarded with a tricky group in Qatar which includes Brazil, Cameroon, and Switzerland.
Three of those nations – Serbia, Brazil, and Switzerland – were drawn in the same group at the Russia World Cup four years ago.
On that occasion, Serbia missed out on a place in the knockout stages after losing to the Swiss and the Brazilians, picking up a solitary win against Costa Rica.