Captain Kolarov fires Serbia to victory over Costa Rica

Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas is ready for the challenge against Serbia in the Samara Arena in Samara

Former Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov gave Serbia a narrow 1-0 win over Costa Rica in the opening fixture of Group E on Sunday at the Samara Arena in the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia, Kolarov's goal remains the difference between the two sides as Serbia win the FIFA World Cup 2018, group E opener 1-0.

In the second half, Serbia stepped up its attack, but Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas managed to thwart their opponent's scoring attempts.

Kolarov's left-footed strike in the 56th minute against Costa Rica was one of three free kicks for goals at this World Cup - already more than the entire tournament in Brazil.

"Qualifying for Russian Federation was a great success, we are here on merit, but we are not going to be satisfied merely by being here, we want to go a step further".

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Krstajic's relief was matched in equal measure by the disappointment of Costa Rica boss Oscar Ramirez, whose side are in a precarious position.

Serbia secured victory despite striker Aleksandar Mitrovic missing a big chance in the second half.

Speaking after the important victory, via Reuters, the 44-year-old admitted his relief at winning his first game at a major tournament with Serbia, stating: "There was a great deal of pressure on the players and I felt pressure over the past five or six months".

The Ticos were the surprise of the last World Cup, reaching the quarterfinals in Brazil before being ousted by the Netherlands on penalties. "I don't want to do the maths yet", he said.

Krstajic, who replaced Slavoljub Muslin previous year, said his team would study video of Switzerland's match.

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"I'm happy with the way we played, but we have to keep our feet on the ground", said Krstajic, who only took charge last October.

Ivanovic went into the book for a foul on Johan Venegas soon afterwards, with the latter making way for Christian Bolanos as Costa Rica made the game's first change. "We know the eyes of the world are on us".

Southampton's midfielder Tusan Tadic, has 51 caps and 13 goals for Serbia, and contributes a lot at the offensive end.

All eyes will be on Milinkovic-Savic on Sunday as he looks to give Serbia the ideal start to their World Cup campaign and perhaps adding several more million onto his transfer fee in the close season.

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