Serbia striker Dragan Mrdja has been enjoying the moment after "one of the most significant goals of my career" set up a final showdown with the Netherlands.
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Serbia striker Dragan Mrdja has been savouring "one of the most significant goals of my career" having scored the clinching second against Belgium that took his side into the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final.
'Very, very nice'
The K. Lierse SK forward came off the bench in the 77th minute at the Gelredome with his side hanging on to the advantage given to them by Aleksandar Kolarov's fortuitous fourth-minute free-kick against a Belgium side determined to throw caution to the wind as the game entered its closing stages. Mrdja made the most of the extra space that provided three minutes from time, striding on to Dejan Milovanović's flicked header to slot past Logan Bailly and spark delirious celebrations among the large contingent of Serbia supporters in Arnhem. "For me that's one of my most significant goals," the 23-year-old explained. "It got us into the final and it was very, very nice for me to score against the country where I play."
Anyone for tennis
Not surprisingly Serbia were still celebrating their second U21 final in three years as their coach left the ground after the game to take them back towards the hotel in Berg en Dal that has been their base for the last fortnight. After training on Thursday morning the accent shifted towards relaxation with the intention to visit a nearby tennis tournament in Den Bosch to support Serbia's world No3 Jelena Janković, before moving on to Groningen in the evening ahead of the final there against host nation the Netherlands on Saturday night.
Aim of the game
The coaching staff might have tried their hardest to take the players' minds off that decisive encounter at the Euroborg, but Mrdja's thoughts have already turned to Groningen. "The Netherlands are a very strong team, they have lots of good players from very big clubs – but so do we," he said. "They will have 20,000 supporters and that could be a problem for us, but it's nothing we haven't experienced before. Our aim is exactly the same as always; first we must defend well and, if we can get in front, we must hang on to that. We must make sure the Netherlands don't score and then try to get a goal ourselves, either on the counterattack or by any other means."