Serbia v Scotland: Hosts expect Serie A players to be available amid Covid-19 confusion

Serbia players celebrate
Serbia beat Norway to reach the European Championship play-off final
Venue: Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade Date: Thursday, 12 November Time: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen to commentary on BBC Radio Scotland and follow live text updates on the BBC Sport website & app; watch highlights on Sportscene

Serbia “expect” four of their Serie A-based players to be available to face Scotland on Thursday despite confusion over new lockdown measures in Italy.

Head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic has confirmed that captain Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are already “in our training camp”.

His side host the Scots in a one-off Euro 2020 play-off final.

But Tumbakovic admits uncertainty over Nikola Milinkevic and Dusan Vlahovic being able to travel from Fiorentina.

He also pointed out that German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen had not allowed defender Milos Veljkovic, who has nine caps but has not played recent games, to join the squad.

“We have a big problem with Italian clubs,” Tumbakovic told a media conference in Belgrade. “At this moment, I don’t have the conclusive answer.

“This is the question that is problematic for the whole of Europe as the pandemics exploded and we have a problem with local authorities in Florence and their measures. We are in contact with clubs and expect also Dusan Vlahovic and Nikola Milinkevic from Fiorentina to come today or tomorrow.”

Tumbakovic pointed out “we also have a problem” over an injury to Kolarov that prevented the defender playing in Inter Milan’s 1-1 draw with Atalanta on Sunday.

Milinkovic-Savic started Lazio’s 1-1 draw with Juventus, while defender Milinkevic helped Fiorentina secure a point in a 0-0 draw away to Parma, with striker Vlahovic an unused substitute.

Those appearances were followed by reports in Italy suggesting some local authorities would prohibit clubs from releasing players for international duty.

Milinkovic-Savic in particular has been an important player in Serbia’s progress to the final, which will be played behind closed doors for a place in next year’s delayed tournament.

He scored both goals in the 2-1 semi-final win over Norway after coming off the bench, with Kolarov and Milinkevic starting in defence and forward Vlahovic an unused substitute.

Sassuolo forward Filip Djuricic, who also started against Norway, had already withdrawn from the current squad after testing positive for Covid-19.

Lohit Soundarajan

Founder , Editor Tech Guy #Voxguy

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