Nemanja Matic broke down in tears of joy after Serbia reached the World Cup for just the second time as an independent nation with a 1-0 win against Georgia.
The Manchester United midfielder was part of the side who topped Group D with 21 points after a nervy display in Belgrade. A 74th-minute goal from substitute Aleksandar Prijovic secured all three points for the Balkan nation, as they finished two points ahead of the Republic of Ireland. And former Chelsea ace Matic could not hide his emotions as they got over the line to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2010.
Serbia’s coach Slavoljub Muslin said after the win:
‘I expected a tough game against Georgia and suspected that the final step would be the most difficult. ‘Georgia were the better side in the first half and I told the players to move up a gear after the break, though we had to keep it tight at the back too. ‘Few fans believed after our barren eight-year run that we would qualify and all credit goes to the players, who left it all out there in every match,” Muslin added.