THE Dutchman Dick Advocaat (pic) has stepped down as Serbia coach after a 3-1 home defeat by Denmark in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, the Serbian football association (FSS) said on Saturday.
â€œThe FSS wishes to thank Advocaat as he has shown utmost professionalism and we are disappointed that our cooperation with him ended so abruptly. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours,â€ a statement said.
Advocaat said: â€œThe pressure which was everywhere to be seen was too much to bear by this team and I had never faced such a difficult situation in my entire career. Serbia have to move on immediately and find a better way and I thank the FSS for their support throughout.â€
Defeat by the Danes in an empty stadium left Serbiaâ€™s qualification hopes in the balance. They have one point from two games, pending Uefaâ€™s final verdict on last monthâ€™s home qualifier against Albania, which was abandoned because of crowd trouble.
Serbia were awarded a 3-0 walkover but also had three points docked, with the FSS appealing the latter part of the verdict, after a drone stunt triggered a player brawl and a pitch invasion by Serbian fans who attacked Albanian players.
The Albanians ran into the tunnel for cover and the match was abandoned in the first half with the score 0-0 after the visitors claimed they were unable to carry on.
The incidents also invoked a two-game crowd ban for Serbia, who began their qualifying campaign with a barely deserved 1-1 draw in Armenia in their opening qualifier.
The 67-year-old, who took over from caretaker Ljubinko Drulovic in July, failed to find the right balance after starting with a promising 1-1 draw against the Euro 2016 hosts, France, in a friendly.
Media in Serbia have touted the former international midfielder Dejan Stankovic as a long-term successor, while the Under-21 coach Radovan Curcic is expected to step in for Tuesdayâ€™s away friendly with Greece. Serbiaâ€™s next two qualifiers are away to Portugal in March and in Denmark in June. – The Guardian