Ireland and Serbia: A short and friendly rivalry

The two teams meet in Belgrade for the first time in a competitive match

BY Daniel Kelly 13:18 Monday 5 September 2016, 13:18 5 Sep 2016

Jonathan Walters and Milan Bisevac of Serbia Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

The Road to Russia begins on Monday night for the Republic of Ireland in Belgrade.

Serbia are the first opponents for Martin O'Neill's side as Ireland look to qualify for the first World Cup since 2002. Monday night's opposition last qualified for the World Cup in 2010.

The game in Belgrade is Ireland's first competitive game in the city, since 1998, when Mick McCarthy's team lost 1-0 in a Euro 2000 qualify.

Since Montenegro declared independence in 2006, Ireland have only played Serbia three times, all in friendlies.

2008: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Serbia

The first meeting between the two sides was also the start of a new era in Irish football. Giovanni Trapattoni took charge of Ireland for the first time, as the Croke Park crowd saw a 1-1 on Jones' Road.

Marko Pantelić gave the away side the lead before Andy Keogh scored in injury time to earn the draw in the Italian's first game in charge.

2012: Serbia 0-0 Republic of Ireland

After the disaster of Euro 2012, Ireland travelled to Belgrade in August for a pre-World Cup qualifier friendly. The team saw many changes from the side that floundered in Poland, months previously.

Keiren Westwood was given his chance to stake a claim at becoming Shay Given's successor. There were also starts in the game for Paul McShane, Darren O'Dea and James McCarthy as Trapattoni tried to move on from their recent disappointment.

2014: Republic of Ireland 1-2 Serbia

Martin O'Neill's first defeat as Ireland manager came at the hands of Serbia in Dublin. The game was Ireland's first of 2014, and was used as preparation ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifiers that began in September.

Shane Long gave the home side an early lead, but two second-half goals in the space of 12 minutes, courtesy of an own-goal from James McCarthy and a Filip Dordevic strike gave the away side the win.

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