Montenegro vs Serbia

Stadion Pod Goricom forms the backdrop for a local derby between Montenegro and Serbia as part of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

Montenegro’s bid to secure a first-ever European Championship qualification as an independent nation was off to a dream start as they eked out a 1-0 win at Bulgaria in the opening qualifying round. But winning back-to-back Euro qualifiers for the first time since 2015 is easier said than done, especially against Serbia. Though Montenegro and Serbia shared a nation as recently as 2006, this encounter won’t have a friendly character. Indeed, the ‘Brave Falcons’ have lost both competitive meetings with their neighbors since gaining independence by an aggregate score of 4-1. Playing on home turf is unlikely to bolster Montenegro’s hopes of ending that streak, considering they’ve failed to win any of their last five Euro qualifiers in their backyard (D2, L3).

As for Serbia, a commanding 2-0 home triumph over minnows Lithuania fired their effort to qualify for their first-ever Euro tournament as a sovereign state to a flying start. But memories of a dreadful 2022 World Cup campaign (D1, L2) are still fresh, and it will take much more than a win over below-par opposition to settle the nerves among those back home. Still, that success puts Serbia on the brink of claiming back-to-back victories at the start of a Euro qualifying campaign for the first time as an independent nation. After winning their last three Euro qualifiers on hostile turf, including qualifiers, Dragan Stojkovic’s men will be confident about making history in Podgorica. However, with each of those three wins coming ‘to one,’ Serbia’s frontline will be under the spotlight.

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