Kolarov blast guides Serbia past Costa Rica

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Group E opened up on Sunday with a thrilling match in Samara, where Serbia topped Costa Rica, 1-0.

It looked as if Keylor Navas wouldn’t be beat on the day, however, Aleksandar Kolarov had other ideas with his sublime free kick 11 minutes into the second half.

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It took the Serbia goal to really spark life out of the Costa Rica attack, however, the Europeans held strong and remained compact defensively to keep the Ticos off the scoreboard.

Aleksandar Mitrovic nearly gave Serbia a second finish in the final moments of the match, after Sergej Malinkovic-Savic picked out an ideal through ball to his teammate, who couldn’t find a shot on target.

Both sides struggled to find a rhythm in the opening half, despite Serbia’s dictation of pace with their strong midfield.

Mitrovic boasted the lone shot on target for the European nation, when he tested Keylor Navas in the 13th minute, while Los Ticos had a quality chance of their own a minute prior through a Giancarlo Gonzalez header from close range.

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Mitrovic was stopped again by Navas in the 50th minute after the Fulham striker found himself one-on-one with the Real Madrid keeper.

The Ticos will return to group action on June 22 against favorites Brazil, while Serbia will meet fellow European side Switzerland the same day.