The Greek hooligans might be the craziest fans, but Serbia definitely leads the league in sociopaths. See, soccer and politics are intertwined in the country, and Serbian politics, in case you are unaware, are fucked. In the 90s, Paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic recruited his soldiers from Red Star Belgrade fans…then used them to massacre thousands of innocent people in Bosnia and Kosovo. In addition, nine Serbian soccer club directors have been assassinated in the last 15 years thanks to the heavy influence of organized crime within the sport. The Serbian soccer culture and its ultras are rooted in perhaps the most egregious racism and violence in Europe and, oh yeah, they brutally murdered a French fan at a qualifying match last fall.
But things are turning around in Serbia. Since the last World Cup, they’ve dropped Montenegro like a bad habit, hired legendary Spanish-league coach Radomic Antic, and are referred to as “The Brazil of the Balkans” which I guess is a compliment, kinda like when I was known as the Jim Thorpe of my third grade gym class. Regardless, if Serbia can keep its head on straight, it could be a quarterfinal contender, thanks to one of the best back lines in the tournament. Of course, the same was said about the 2006 World Cup team, then they promptly got 10 yellow cards and two reds in three games, gave up ten goals and were completely outplayed and outclassed.
Nickname: The White Eagles. Yup, nothing changes your public perception as a racist state like arbitrarily putting WHITE in your nickname. White eagles don’t even fucking EXIST. And, if you’re gonna arbitrarily put a color in front of your mascot, it has to either be ironic (Blue Devils) or alliterative (Golden Gophers). If they were the White Walruses it’d be different, but White Eagles? Shit, you’re not even trying, Serbia. That should go over well in fucking AFRICA.
Best Player: Nemanja Vidic, CB, Manchester United
Outlook: This team showed its potential during qualification, beating out France to win its group and outscoring its opponents by 14. If they can put together a group stage effort devoid of bookings and psychotic episodes, they’ll go far in the tournament. Midfielder Dejan Stankovic (Inter) will key the offense with his excellent passing and ball control. He’ll be joined by Liverpool winger Milan Jovanovic and Nenad Milijas (Wolverhampton). Look out for 6’8″ striker Niokla Zigic (Valencia) up top, as well as PSV striker Danko Lazovic.
Vidic captains the defense but they are formidable all around. He’ll be joined in the center by Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), a 21-year old prodigy. The wings will be occupied by Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and Udinese left back Aleksandar Lukovic. Their Achilles heel on defense might be goalie Vladimir Stojkovic (Wigan), who has had trouble finding a job at the professional level (Soccer players, they’re just like us!).
Most Famous Citizen: Loads to choose from here, but I’ve gotta go with Gavrilo Princip aka the guy who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand aka the guy who fucked EVERYTHING UP. I think it’d be pretty bittersweet to single-handedly start a world war. He’s gotta look back 10 years later like “Wow…that really escalated a lot faster than I thought it would. I mean that really got out of hand. I just wanted to kill A GUY and all of a sudden, I’m the asshole who started a World War.” I wonder if he had some old Jewish mother who still staunchly defended him. “MY LITTLE GAVRILO’S A GOOD BOY”. Nah, probably not.
Prediction: I think their defense will lead them out of the group stage, perhaps finishing first ahead of Germany. From there, I think they could win at least a game and possibly make a dream run to the semi-finals. Or not. I just want to go on record saying fuck Serbia, buncha cunts they are.