Nemanja Matic Breaks Down In Tears After Serbia Secure World Cup Spot
Serbia became the latest country to book their spot for the 2018 World Cup following their victory last night, and Nemanja Matic perfectly captured what it meant to reach Russia.
A host of sides secured their participation for next summers sporting showpiece, including Iceland who marked the occasion with the famous 'Viking Clap', while Republic of Ireland and Croatia sealed a play-off spot.
Not to mention Serbia who head to a World Cup for just the second time as an independent nation.
Prijovic is chased by his teammates after opening the scoring. Image: PA
Serbia qualified after topping Group D with 21 points on the board, ahead of Martin O'Neil's charges, following their gritty 1-0 win over Georgia in Belgrade.
It proved to be a tense game after substitute Aleksandar Prijovic netted in the final 20 minutes to guarantee their place.
Following the three-points, Manchester United star Matic broke down in tears and poured out his emotions with teammates consoling him.
Dusan Tadic and Nemanja Matic. This is why we support the national team and our country :flag_rs: Srbija bre! pic.twitter.com/jg075fDPpI- Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) October 9, 2017
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This is what it means to the players. Brilliant.
The 2018 World Cup will be their third appearance in the past four tournament after failing to qualify in 2014.
And Serbia's experienced coach Slavoljub Muslin gave credit to the stubborn opposition while praising his players effort.
"I expected a tough game against Georgia and suspected that the final step would be the most difficult," he said in the post-match press conference via Reuters.
Serbia players celebrate after the full-time whistle. Image: PA
"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: "The fans played a big part too and I thank them."