Serbia edged Costa Rica 1-0 after scored the third direct free-kick of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. In a tightly-contested duel at the Samara Arena, with both teams creating several goalscoring chances, it was Serbia's day, as the Orlovi put a precious three points on the board.
Costa Rica had opportunities in the first half and they did not take advantage of them. In the second half, Serbia were more confident and scored the decisive goal. This game was about efficacy and accuracy and some players of Costa Rica did not have that this time. Their attackers were isolated throughout the second half and they did not create enough opportunities to score. This was a chess match that Serbia won.
On the pitch today, Serbia did exactly what they promised in the build-up to the match. They played like a team, covering positions for one another, they did not underestimate their opponent and they did not get caught in the headlights of playing in a first World Cup match in eight years. The team’s mix of aggressiveness and creativity in midfield was the driving force of the win, with the foul that led to Kolarov’s free-kick winner coming after an inspired Milinkovic-Savic run.
Aleksandar Kolarov came up with the decisive moment of the match, as he struck home an exquisite free-kick to give Serbia a valuable three points in their Group E opener.
Serbia's last four World Cup wins have been by the score of 1-0. Before today's match, Serbia's last three World Cup wins (including when they played as Yugoslavia) were won by that scoreline: v Germany in 2010, v IR Iran and USA in 1998.
Brazil v Costa Rica – Group E, 22 June, St. Petersburg
Serbia v Switzerland – Group E, 22 June, Kaliningrad