Matic: we can do it for our people
NEMANJA MATIC insists Serbia won’t slip up tomorrow to let Ireland pinch their World Cup spot.
Friday night’s first defeat of the campaign for the Serbians against Austria means they must overcome Georgia in Belgrade to be assured of their place in Russia.
A second successive defeat would enable the winner of Wales v Ireland to usurp them for top spot.
The Manchester United midfielder cannot countenance such a scenario, convinced Friday’s late 3-2 defeat in Vienna was a one-off.
However, expectation on the side to qualify for a first tournament since 2000 is weighing heavily.
When the sides last met in March, Georgia forged ahead in Tbilisi and missed a sitter to extend the lead. Serbia rallied to win 3-1.
‘Georgia have played well enough in the campaign, and taken enough points, to deserve our respect,’ said the 29-year-old, who was watched on Friday by club manager Jose Mourinho.
‘However, we are not in a position to overly respect them. A direct route to the World Cup is within our own hands and that’s why this is the biggest game of my career.
‘There will be no repeat of Friday’s performance because I am confident we will win to remain in first place at the end.’
Despite only two points separating the top three teams in Group D, he is certain Serbia deserve to take the automatic ticket.
‘Friday night was bad for us because we didn’t play to our strengths but it will be different against Georgia,’ he said.
‘We didn’t deserve anything from the game. Our tactics were wrong and we just had an offnight. I still believe in our quality; our team has been top of the group for most the campaign and now we can finish the job off in front of our own fans.’
ONE-0FF: Matic in action against Austria on Friday night