Former Yugoslavia international
Sinisa Mihajlovic was named Serbia's new coach on Monday and the
fiery character said he would quit if he fails to steer the
Balkan side to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
The 43-year old has taken over from caretaker Radovan
Curcic, who was appointed in October after Serbia failed to
qualify for Euro 2012 under Vladimir Petrovic.
"I am completely confident we can reach the World Cup finals
and I will step down if we fail," Mihajlovic told a news
conference after signing a two-year contract with the Serbian
Football Association (FSS).
"It's going to be a lot of hard work and we are also pressed
for time because the qualifiers start in September whereas we
have to inject fresh blood into the team and rebuild almost from
scratch, but we have enough talent and potential.
"I had offers from three Italian clubs during the protracted
talks with the FSS, which lasted for two and a half months, but
was never in doubt because it is every coach's dream to take
charge of his country's national team," he added.
Former defender and midfielder Mihajlovic enjoyed a
successful 14-year career in Serie A with AS Roma, Sampdoria,
Lazio and Inter Milan after winning the Yugoslav league title
and the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade in 1991.
He retired after clinching the scudetto with Inter in 2006
and worked as Roberto Mancini's assistant at Inter for two years
before moving on to boss Bologna, Catania and Fiorentina.
Known for his temper and no-nonsense approach as a player
and a coach, Mihajlovic vowed to eradicate supporter violence as
well as a perceived lack of commitment among players.
"I will ask the FSS to make sure we play only in venues
where fans will behave in order to stop tarnishing Serbia's
reputation which is already blotted by a plethora of incidents.
"The players, on the other hand, will have to sign a code of
conduct binding each and every one who represents Serbia to
learn the national anthem, behave at international and club
level and put their hearts on the sleeve.
"Football should be entertainment for all fans who love the
game, including women and children, while commitment, passion
and patriotism must go hand in hand with a player's talent."
Mihajlovic has called up 31 players for Serbia's upcoming
friendlies against European champions Spain this week, France on
May 31 and Sweden on June 5.
His squad includes four debutants and is devoid of many
stalwarts who endured a poor Euro 2012 qualifying campaign
including Dejan Stankovic and Nemanja Vidic, who both retired
from international football after the fiasco.
"I spoke to both of them and they confirmed that making a
return to the national team was out of the question, although
Stankovic will be with us in an advisory role whenever possible
because of his vast experience," Mihajlovic said.
"The three games against teams taking part in Euro 2012 will
show where we stand at the moment and what departments we need
to address ahead of the World Cup qualifiers."
Serbia's group includes traditional Balkan rivals Croatia,
Belgium, Scotland, Wales and Macedonia.
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