Soccer-Serbia are in their prime ahead of World Cup, says in-form Mitrovic

(Reuters) - Serbia and Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic believes the best is yet to come for his national side, hoping they will extend their recent stellar form into the World Cup.

Serbia clinched an automatic berth in Qatar with a comeback 2-1 win over Portugal in their last qualifying match. They then finished top of their group in the Nations League, sealing promotion to top-tier League A.

"We don't need a lot of time to start playing together as a team and it's critical in a national team for the players to know how everyone plays and thinks," Mitrovic told the FIFA website.

"Many of our players have really grown up together. We know each other very well.

"The best is yet to come. We're in our prime. We all hope we'll be in good form to experience the exciting times ahead of us ... We're sure we can achieve some really spectacular results."

Last time out, at the 2018 World Cup, Serbia finished third in their group, winning one game, against Costa Rica, and losing the other two, to Switzerland and Brazil.

"I think most of our team has already participated in a World Cup. We've gained some experience, so we'll be prepared and we hope the result will be better," Mitrovic said.

"Last time ... some things just didn't go our way. It might have been due to our lack of experience. This time we're ready: the players, the entire national team and the whole country."

Serbia's all-time top scorer Mitrovic, recently in great form for both his club and country, is a huge added value to coach Dragan Stojkovic's side.

"I think I've changed a lot (since the last World Cup). I've matured and grown in general," Mitrovic said.

"I'm calmer and I've learned to play using my head more ... I think I'm a different and better player than I was four years ago. I feel very confident.

"You're under a lot of pressure when you're a striker. You can't just play well; you have to score. The greatest pressure comes from having to do it in every match ... I like to score and I like that everyone expects me to. It means I'm good at it."

Serbia, drawn in Group G with Brazil, Switzerland and Cameroon, will kick of their World Cup on Nov. 24.

"We have a tough group with strong teams and excellent players, but that's why we play the game. We want to be there and compete with the best - we can't wait. I'm very confident, but I think the whole team and the whole country feel the same." 

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