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Ireland V Serbia: Confirmed Lineups, And A New Irish Number 10

LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 26: The Republic Of Ireland team pose before the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between France and the Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/UEFA via Getty Images)

The Republic of Ireland begin their World Cup 2018 qualification campaign tonight with a tricky tie against Serbia in Belgrade.

Martin O’Neill’s side are still on a high from an impressive Euro 2016 campaign, but know that they will face a battle tonight against a Serbian side looking to make up for their dismal European Championship qualifying attempt.

For tonight’s game, O’Neill is forced into making a few changes from the side which fared so well in the latter part of the Euro 2016 campaign.

James McCarthy misses the tie through injury, while Brighton defender Shane Duffy is suspended. Seamus Coleman (tonight’s captain) and John O’Shea both returned to training at the weekend and both start tonight.

Glenn Whelan and Jonathan Walters also return to the competitive starting lineup.

In other news, Robbie Keane’s now vacated number ten shirt has been handed to Robbie Brady, who became a goalscoring hero in his own right with the winner against Italy in Ireland’s final Euro 2016 group stage match to send them into the last 16.

He also scored the first-minute penalty to give O’Neill’s side the lead in the second round defeat to France, and an impressive free kick in last week’s 4-0 win at home to Oman.

LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 26: Seamus Coleman (R) of Republic of Ireland is consoled by manager Martin O'Neill (C) after their team's 1-2 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

For the home side, the loss of Nemanja Matic and Aleksandar Kolarov is a significant blow, but new Serbia manager Slavoljub Muslin still has a number of talented players to call upon.

Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic starts in defence, with Dusan Tadic of Southampton in midfield and Newcastle’s Aleksandar Mitrovic in attack.

Liverpool’s Lazar Markovic and Zoran Tosic, formerly of Manchester United, are on the bench.

POZNAN, POLAND - MARCH 23: (C) Arkadiusz Milik of Poland fights for the ball during the international friendly soccer match between Poland and Serbia at the Inea Stadium on March 23, 2016 in Poznan, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

Recent Form:

Serbia: L  W  W  W  D

Ireland: D  L  W  L  W

Last Meeting: Ireland 1 (Long) – Serbia 2 (McCarthy OG, Djordjevic), 5th March 2014

Selected Match Odds: Serbia 23/20  Draw 21/10  Ireland 11/4

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.