Aleksandar Kolarov was confident he could make the difference as he lined up what proved to be Serbia’s winning strike in their World Cup opener.
Former Manchester City defender Kolarov scored a stunning free-kick as Serbia saw off Costa Rica 1-0 in Samara.
Kolarov’s 56th-minute effort rewarded Serbia for their overall quality, although Costa Rica were to rue a number of missed opportunities in the first half.
Kolarov, who now plays for Roma, told FIFA.com: “The free-kick came in a difficult moment in the match and I knew I could step up and change things, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Coach Mladen Krstajic was pleased with the mentality of his players, who were strong in possession and continually driven forward by the impressive Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
“My players had the right attitude and approach – unity,” said Krstajic. “We had to be a compact unit in both defence and attack and that’s most important.
“I don’t deal with statistics, I don’t care what happened in the past – what’s most important for me is that we played as a team and we were focused. We have to be planted firmly on the ground and continue as a team.”