You will not need any reminding that there will be no Italy at the World Cup in Qatar this year. For a second consecutive tournament, the Azzurri failed to qualify – this time experiencing the embarrassment of losing out to North Macedonia in the playoffs.
But there is usually some Lazio representation at a major international competition – and this one is no different. The best online sportsbooks may not fancy the chances of Serbia or Uruguay winning the World Cup, but Sergej Milinković-Savić and Matias Vecino will be giving it their all for their countries. But just how well could they do?
Sergej Milinković-Savić – Serbia
With only 18 months remaining on Milinković-Savić’s contract at the Stadio Olimpico, Lazio fans will be sweating on the midfielder’s post-tournament decision on what happens next. But there will be no doubting the impact he can have on a game, for both Lazio and Serbia.
He has been linked with moves abroad to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United – and more closer to home with Juventus. The strength he shows in the middle of the field is a huge plus for any team and he will need to be on top form in Qatar.
Serbia has been consistently inconsistent in major international tournaments, going back to the former Yugoslavia days, and cannot slip up this time around. Drawn with Brazil, Switzerland and Cameroon, Serbia has three very tough games – with just two going through from the group.
That being said, Serbia will fancy its chances of progressing to the knock out stages, even if it will probably be behind Brazil in Group G. A potential meeting with Portugal awaits in the round of 16, or maybe a meeting with the country that the other Lazio representative plays for.
Matias Vecino – Uruguay
There must be something about Lazio midfielders that international coaches like. Matias Vecino will be playing at his second World Cup finals after representing Uruguay in Russia in 2018. La Celeste topped their group without conceding a single goal there, before beating Portugal and eventually exiting after losing to France.
Vecino will, once again, be absolutely crucial to Uruguay’s chances in the Middle East. Most of the attention with the national side usually lies up front, with Luis Suárez and Darwin Núñez the strike partnership at this World Cup. But Vecino does the hard work in the middle and provides the space for the goalscorers to do their job.
Uruguay has as difficult a group as Serbia, after being grouped with South Korea, Portugal and Ghana. This is a small country that vastly overachieves on the World stage. But it has only made it as far as the quarterfinals once since 1966 and there is an intense desire to replicate the World Cup winning sides of the early years of the competition.
Like Milinković-Savić, Matias Vecino is a regular and important member of his national side’s starting eleven and will need to be alert to deal with the midfield creativity of Portugal, especially. There is every chance of Uruguay going through though.
Will There Be a Lazio World Cup Winner in 2022?
As we mentioned earlier, it would be something of a surprise if either Serbia or Uruguay came away from Qatar with the World Cup in their grasp. Although both countries can cause any opponent problems on their day, they are not considered to be in the top level of world football.
Lazio fans could have their loyalties split if Serbia and Uruguay do meet in the round of 16. But that would, at least, guarantee some Aquile involvement in the later stages of the World Cup this year. Without an Italy team to get behind, the tournament just doesn’t seem right, and these two players can provide the fans with something to cheer about until Serie A resumes in the New Year.