Euro U21s: Despair for Tošić as Serbia crash out
Posted by nickogs20 on June 23, 2009
Fraizer Campbell had already booked his place in Friday’s UEFA U21 European Championship semi-finals with England, but fellow United star Zoran Tošić will not be joining him after Serbia bowed out of the tournament this evening in tumultuous fashion.
Touted as one of the pre-competition favourites, EURO 2009 turned into something of a nightmare for Serbia. Held to 0-0 draws in their first two group games against Italy and Belarus, Slobodan Krčmarević’s side went into tonight’s game in Malmo against tournament hosts Sweden knowing that only a win would prolong their participation. Roughly ninety minutes later they were leaving the field of play shell-shocked, reduced to nine men and on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline.
The damage had been done inside the first fifteen minutes, a double from the prolific Marcus Berg after some slack defending giving Tošić and co. a mountain to climb. Forward Gojko Kačar gave the White Eagles hope when he bundled home Miralem Sulejmani’s corner on 28 minutes, but further calamitous play from the Serbian rearguard allowed Ola Toivonen to restore the Swedes’ two-goal cushion just a minute later, and from that there was no coming back.
Tošić went close with a fizzing effort from distance and, as in the first two group games, looked the Serbs’ most potent attacking threat, but any realistic hopes of a comeback went out of the window when Nenad Tomović saw red in first-half injury time for a second bookable offence. Nikola Petković followed suit in the second half, earning a straight red for a clash with Toivonen, and the hosts comfortably saw out a niggly game – featuring eight yellow cards in addition to the two accrued by Tomović – to set up a semi-final against England. Good news for Fraizer and his team-mates comes in the form of suspensions for Sweden’s Pontus Wernbloom and Emir Bajrami, the latter in particular being a big miss.
As for Tošić, the crushing disappointment of Serbia’s dismal showing will have to be dealt with quickly, with the start of pre-season training rapidly approaching. Individually the 21 year-old had a fine tournament, earning rave reviews for his displays in the first two games, and he will need to take that form back to Carrington and onto the pitches in the Far East as he seeks to establish himself in the United first team.