Serbia received a boost ahead of Monday’s second Group G match against Cameroon as head coach Dragan Stojkovic said winger Filip Kostic is available for selection after playing no part in their opening game.
Kostic was an unused substitute in Serbia’s 2-0 defeat by the mighty Brazilians as there were questions over the Juventus player’s fitness.
“I can’t say if he will be playing but he is one of the potential players, which was not the case earlier. The way he runs and his physical engagement in training has shown that is going to be okay and that makes me happy.”
Both Serbia and Cameroon lost their opening games, with the African side suffering a 1-0 defeat by Switzerland. The Serbians are languishing in last place in their group with Cameroon just above them on goal difference.
Stojkovic said the team struggled in their first game due to a number of injuries and fitness issues in the squad, including top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, but the situation is much better for Monday’s game at the Al Janoub Stadium.
“It is an important game for both teams given that we suffered defeat in our first matches, but that does not diminish our ambitions and objectives of what we want to achieve,” he added..
Song ”We are not under-pressure”
Cameroon coach Rigobert Song played down suggestions that his team are under unfair pressure from former star Samuel Eto’o, who predicted an all-African World Cup final between his nation and Morocco before the tournament began.
Song, whose side face Serbia in Group G today, denied a rift with ex-Inter Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea striker Eto’o and said the expectations set by his bold prediction was not the reason for Cameroon’s 1-0 loss to Switzerland in their opener.
The Indomitable Lions have not won a World Cup group game since beating Saudi Arabia in 2002 when Eto’o, now president of the Cameroonian Football Federation, was the last player to score a winner for the country.
“The president of the federation is passionate about football. He was a footballer himself, he lives, breathes and dreams football but he does not put any burden or stress on our shoulders,” Song told reporters on Sunday.
“That is not why my players didn’t score against Switzerland. I would say sometimes he even wants to put on the jersey and get out on the pitch to play, because he wants to give everything.
“The president is a gentleman who is very supportive and easy to talk to. He is open and we communicate a lot.”
Third-placed Cameroon and bottom side Serbia, who lost 2-0 to pre-tournament favourites Brazil, will head into Monday’s clash knowing that another defeat would leave them scrambling to reach the last 16.
“We’re raring to go. We can’t wait for the whistle to blow so we can get down to business. I think you will see a different side to this Cameroon team and we will silence our critics.”