Serbia failed to qualify for both the 2012 European Championships and the 2014 World Cup, and new manager Dick Advocaat will now be expected to mount a significant charge towards France in 2016 as the European Championship qualifiers get underway. They will face Portugal, Denmark, Armenia and Albania in Group I, but their campaign hasn't got off to the best of starts.
On Saturday, Serbia travelled to Yerevan to face Armenia, and after Robert Arzumanyan had given Armenia the lead, Marcos Pizzelli missed a penalty for the hosts, leaving winger Zoran Tosic to rescue a last gasp point for Serbia.
Despite Armenia having talented players such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Borussia Dortmund), Aras Ozbiliz and Yura Movsisyan (both Spartak Moscow), the Serbian press were unhappy with the draw, but received an unexpected backlash from left back Aleksandar Kolarov, who of course plays for Manchester City.
"I have been here for a while and I can say that we have never had the right kind of support," said Kolarov. "It seems people in Serbia can’t wait for us to falter, so they can insult us. It’s annoying, although I don’t have a personal problem with it because I know who and what I am. Most of them are probably using their keyboards to vent their own frustrations."
Serbia have a chance to redeem themselves in midweek when they host Albania in Belgrade, but there is a growing sense of discord between the players and media - which may make it very difficult for Advocaat to take Serbia to the European Championships in 2016.