Football: No need for Croatian motivation, says Mihajlovic

Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic said his players would need no motivating ahead of the country's World Cup Group A qualifiers against neighbours and rivals Croatia on March 22 in Zagreb, and then Wales four days later at home.

Mihajlovic named a 26-man squad on Saturday and stressed that his players were already motivated for the highly-symbolic match against Croatia, which is the first meeting of the former foes as independent nations since the 1990s Balkan conflict.

"There is no need to hold a motivational speech for this kind of match," Mihajlovic said.

The game is also key for Serbia to preserve their chances of qualifying for the World Cup.

However, the Serbian coach voiced concern over the fact that several of his players are not playing regularly for their clubs, meaning they were not "100 percent ready" for the big match.

"We are still not aware of our potential .... I'm convinced that this match could be a turning point in that sense," he stressed.

In a bid to avoid trouble between rival fans, both countries' football federations have decided to ban away supporters from travelling to the match.

Relations between Croatia and Serbia have gradually improved since the 1991-1995 war but sports events are still considered high risk, particularly with football linked to ultra-nationalist hooligans.

Group A also features Belgium, Macedonia and Scotland.

Serbia's squad:

Goalkeepers: Zeljko Brkic (Udinese/ITA), Vladimir Stojkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Branimir Aleksic (Spartak Subotica)

Defenders: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea/ENG), Neven Subotic (Dortmund/GER), Matija Nastasic (Manchester City/ENG), Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City/ENG), Antonio Rukavina (Valladolid/ESP), Milan Bisevac (Lyon/FRA), Nenad Tomovic (Fiorentina/ITA), Slobodan Rajkovic (Hamburg/GER), Dusan Basta (Udinese/ITA)

Midfielders: Aleksandar Ignjovski (Werder Bremen/GER), Ivan Radovanovic (Atalanta/ITA), Ljubomir Fejsa (Olympiakos/GRE), Radosav Petrovic (Genclerbirligi/TUR), Zdravko Kuzmanovic (Inter/ITA), Luka Milivojevic (Red Star Belgrade), Zoran Tosic (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Alen Stevanovic (Torino/ITA), Dusan Tadic (Twente/NED), Nenad Krsticic (Sampdoria/ITA)

Forwards: Filip Djuricic (Heerenveen/NED), Filip Djordjevic (Nantes/FRA), Nikola Djurdjic (Greuther Fuerth/GER), Marko Scepovic (Partizan Belgrade)