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The Two Irish Players That Ivanovic Is Wary Of Doesn't Include Robbie Brady

John Balfe
By John Balfe
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Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has warned Serbia about Ireland's attacking threats, ahead of Monday's opening World Cup qualifier in Belgrade.

With his Chelsea clubmate Nemanja Matic and Manchester City fullback Alexander Kolarov both suspended, Ivanovic's experience of playing against Ireland's Premiership contingent will be crucial to Serbian hopes of getting a result and he has warned the Serbian public that the clash with Ireland won't be easy.


Speaking to the media in Belgrade, Ivanovic picked out two of Ireland's attacking threats as being particularly dangerous.

Ireland are a very difficult opponent who need to be respected, who demand respect. What impresses me is their level of continuity, they have a mix of young and experienced players, maybe because I have played in the Premier League for so long I understand they are aggressive and make up for any faults they have with their effort.

Long and Walters are tough to defend against, they don't leave a second for defenders to have a lapse in concentration and they make things difficult from start to finish.

Interesting. While Long and Walters are both potent attacking threats for Ireland, there is also the likes of Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick who are all more than capable of causing havoc in the Serbian defensive third.

This is the first competetive meeting between the two sides. Ireland last faced Serbia in a friendly in Dublin in 2014. The Serbs came away with the win that time but, interestingly enough, Shane Long bagged himself a goal - capitalising on a mistake from Ivanovic in the process. No wonder he's worried.



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