The media in Belgrade and beyond are now picking over the unsuccessful qualification campaign and bemoaning an absence from the European Championships that stretches back beyond the country’s current inception to it’s previous days as part of Yugoslavia.
It read: “Northern Macedonia and Finland will make their debut at the European Championship next summer, thus falling out of the society that have not seen this competition in this millennium, as well as Scotland.
“Since 2000, apart from our national team, Slovenia and Norway have been waiting, and only the following "superpowers" are worse than us: Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova and San Marino.”
The crucial penalty miss will live with the country’s children, according to Blic, which compared David Marshall’s save to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s spot-kick to a previous miss by Predrag Mijatović in 1998 for Yugoslavia – “this moment will be a taboo theme for years.”
"Whatever the name of our state, there is something that sooner or later hits us in the head. Defeat in the penalty lottery hurts very, very much. The impression is that it will still burn us, and a little unhappily the car broke down on Mitrović.”
The penalty was in focus for Novosti who claimed: “Marshall took a step forward , violated a new, strict rule, for a moment feared that arbitrator Lahoz would request a new performance, and when he "heard" only silence from VAR truck colleagues Hernandez and Benchega, it was clear that the last one had sunk Serbia hopes.”
The blame for defeat and non-qualification was being served out in the Informer who carried criticism of coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic – branding his team selection a scientist’s experiment. It read: "Aleksandar Mitrović was cut off during all 90 minutes, Tadić and Sergej Milinković-Savić did not have the right support on the side, in order to employ our take-off wings with a lucid pass!
“It was Mitrović who missed the penalty but is not the only and the main culprit. That is certainly Ljubisa Tumbakovic.”
Stanislav Karasi guest on the "TV Pink" pointed the finger at Tumbaković and Dusan Tadić: “The captain thinks it is Ajax, that he can play like that, like a ballet dancer. He determines everything, and does nothing,” Karasi said.
Former Croatia boss Ćiro Blažević gave Steve Clarke’s side a back-handed compliment in the Courier: “The Scots have shown how awkward the team is. Serbia has a lot more talent, but did not show that. Serbia has a lot of players who play in big clubs, but they seem to have taken the match lightly, as if it were a joke.”
However, looking on the bright said was Alo! It wrote: “In front of us, is Qatar 2022. It sounds weird, but that's what the Eagles were waiting for.
“Why? Because in the 21st century, they qualified for the World Cup three times (2006, 2010, 2018), and not one European Championship! A paradox, because it is much harder to qualify at the WC.”