Aleksandar Kolarov scores stunning free-kick against Costa Rica

They split possession with Serbia, had 10 shots just like their opponents and the same amount of efforts on target (three), but just couldn't create good enough chances to really threaten. Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who plays for Real Madrid, couldn't reach it.

It mattered little, however, as the deadlock was broken when Kolarov produced his moment of magic, curling his free kick left-footed over the wall and past the despairing dive of Navas.

Costa Rica now faces a steep mountain to climb if it wants to advance out of the group stage, while Serbia took a giant step toward clinching a spot in the Round of 16.

The two other teams in Group E, Brazil and Switzerland, meet in Rostov later Sunday.

Vucic told the team: 'I don't think it's such big money for you... but we wanted to show you how important it is to our country that you should represent it the best way possible'.

Serbia, which missed out on the 2014 tournament, had the early advantage in a tough group that includes five-time champion Brazil and Switzerland.

The Manchester United man was a driving force in the heart of Serbia's 5-man midfield.

Costa Rica defender Ronald Matarrita was ruled out of the World Cup earlier this week because of a right hamstring injury.


"It is great to have three points in the bag, but we are not finished".

The former Chelsea defender made his 104th worldwide appearance, surpassing the previous record of 103 which he held jointly with former midfielder Dejan Stankovic.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic should have done better with a close-range effort 27 minutes in, only for the offside flag to spare the youngster's blushes, before Kolarov drew the best out of Navas with a wicked free-kick.

Soon, a cross-field ball on the right aimed to pick out Kolarov ventured into the box but Navas came to the rescue once again.

The final moments of the match were marked by a squabble on the sidelines as Nemanja Matic got into a tussle with a Costa Rican coach. The goal wouldn't have counted, as Milinkovic-Savic was offside, but it was a attractive effort nonetheless.

If Costa Rica are going to recover, however, they will need to rediscover the defensive organization and clinical counter-attacks that propelled them to the quarter-finals four years ago.

Now with Italian club Lazio, rumours have swirled that Manchester United might be interested in the dynamic 23-year-old midfielder.

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