Serbia 1, Costa Rica 0
Group E, Samara Arena, Samara
Aside from an absolute gem of a goal from captain Aleksandar Kolarov, the first match from Group E was a back-and-forth affair that didn’t pack much of a punch. Serbia takes the 1-0 victory against Costa Rica and moves into first place with three points — for now. Brazil, one of the favorites to win the tournament, plays Switzerland later today.
Serbia’s crafty strikers were expected to make things interesting against Los Ticos, and indeed, it felt as if the younger side should have won by more. Aleksander Mitrovic missed two fabulous chances and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was able to create space in the midfield.
But all Serbia needed was one punch from Kolarov, a curling free-kick over Costa Rica’s wall that keeper Keylor Navas couldn’t reach despite launching himself into the upper-right corner in the 56th minute. It sure was a pretty one.
Costa Rica: vs. Brazil in Saint Petersburg Stadium, June 22
Serbia: vs. Switzerland in Kaliningrad Stadium, June 22