Serbia and Spain have announced their 19-man squads for the 2021 World Cup Qualifier showdown at the Makis Stadium in Belgrade tomorrow (Saturday). All three nations in European Championship B are tied on two points, with the Serbians needing to beat their opponents by a difference of 14 to retain their title, and move on to the next stage of World Cup qualification in 2019.
Russia currently head the group after defeating Serbia 36-18 in Moscow last weekend, having fallen to Spain in Valencia, 32-24, in the opening fixture. As two nations progress to join Italy, Greece/Malta and the bottom two sides from the European Championship (involving France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) next autumn, the Bears will be hoping that the clash in the Serbian capital does not end in a draw.
Serbia are able to recall four heritage players - Jonathan Krees, David Andjelic, lija Radan and Brandon Janjic - who missed out on the trip to Russia because of visa application issues, along with head coach Brett Davidson.
Skipper Dalibor Vukanovic commented: “We have put ourselves in a tight spot with our loss against Russia. If we want to progress we have to not just win but cover some points differential, and that is very hard to accomplish in World Cup qualifying match. Spain showed against Russia their progress and we expect a real battle.”
Toulouse scrum half Romain Pallares was the star of the Spaniards win over Russia with a try hat trick, the visitors making a couple of changes to their squad due to work commitments.
“We knew every nation would want a home win so this game will be no easy task,” said Spain head coach Darren Fisher. “There’s been elements we needed to work on and things we will need to bring if we want anything out of the clash. I have rewarded players for their effort against Russia and they know they have to put in an even bigger shift. It will test both sets of players but we have to believe in ourselves.”
The nations have met once before, in a 2017 World Cup qualifier in Valencia which the Serbians won 64-4, Milos Calic with a hat trick - one of nine players in the current squad.
The game will live-streamed on:https://www.youtube.com/c/sportuzivotv/live
SERBIA 19-MAN SQUAD
Jason Muranka (Doncaster RLFC, UK), Dalibor Vukanovic, Milos Aleksic, Stevan Stevanovic (Dorcol, Serbia), Djordje Stosic (Falcon VR, Serbia), Brandon Janjic (Hills Bulls, Australia), lija Radan (Narrabeen sharks, Australia), Dzavid Jasari, Nikola Srbljanin, Vladimir Milutinovic, Vlado Kusic (Partisan, Serbia), Aleksandar Djordjevic, Milos Calic, Milos Zogovic, Predrag Keglic, Rajko Trifunovic, Vojislav Dedic, (Red Star, Serbia), David Andjelic (St Patricks Blacktown, Australia), Jonathan Kress (Wentworthville Magpies, Australia)
SPAIN 19-MAN SQUAD
Antonio Puerta, Juan Mudarra, Rafael Garcia, (Custodians RL) Aitor Romero, Daniel Morales, Hadriel Mehamed, Raul Simo, Ivan Ordaz (Torrent Tigres), Adriá Alonso, Carlos Font, Fernando Vidal (Xativa Roosters),Miguel Olivares (Valencian Warriors), Chris Lopez (Eastmoor Dragons) Kevin Aparicio (Unattached) Daniel Garcia, Alex Doutres (Palau) Luc Franco (Limoux) Anthony Delgado (Carcassone) Romain Pallares (Toulouse Olympique)