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Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic (left) and FA chief Slavisa Kokeza arrive for a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia. REUTERS

BELGRADE: Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic on Thursday named a preliminary 27-man World Cup squad led by Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and including young Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

“Success is already achieved, but we will do everything to present Serbia in the best way” in Russia, Krstajic was quoted by state-run RTS television as saying.

“Preparations in Austria are ahead of us, we will do our best to get ready and await the (opening June 17) match against Costa Rica which is certainly the most important at this moment.”

Serbia’s Group E also includes Brazil and Switzerland.

In Austria, Serbia will play two pre-tournament friendlies – against Chile on June 4 and Bolivia five days later.

A final decision on whether Schalke defender Matija Nastasic, who injured his right knee in April, will head for Russia will be taken after a medical scheduled for Saturday, the coach said.

“He is an important part, he showed quality during qualifications,” Krstajic added.

World Cup squads must be reduced to 23 players by June 4.

Serbia squad

Goalkeepers (4): Vladimir Stojkovic (FK Partizan Belgrade), Predrag Rajkovic (Maccabi Tel Aviv/ISR), Aleksandar Jovanovic (AGF/DEN), Marko Dmitrovic (Eibar/ESP)

Defenders (9): Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma/ITA), Antonio Rukavina (Villarreal/ESP), Milan Rodic (Red Star Belgrade), Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit Saint Petersburg/RUS), Uros Spajic (Anderlecht/BEL), Milos Veljkovic (Werder Bremen/GER), Dusko Tosic (Besiktas/TUR), Matija Nastasic (Schalke/GER), Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina/ITA)

Midfielders (11): Nemanja Matic (Manchester United/ENG), Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace/ENG), Marko Grujic (Cardiff City/WAL), Nemanja Maksimovic (Valencia/ESP), Dusan Tadic (Southampton/ENG), Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica/POR), Mijat Gacinovic (Eintracht/GER), Filip Kostic (Hamburger SV/GER), Nemanja Radonjic (Red Star Belgrade), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio/ITA), Adem Ljajic (Torino/ITA)

Forwards (3): Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham/ENG), Aleksandar Prijovic (PAOK Thessaloniki/GRE), Luka Jovic (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER).--AFP

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