March 20, 2009 / 4:45 PM / 10 years ago

Soccer-Subotic set for eagerly awaited Serbia debut

BELGRADE, March 20 (Reuters) - Serbia coach Radomir Antic could give a debut to Neven Subotic in a crunch World Cup qualifier away to Romania on March 28 after the highly rated defender was cleared by FIFA to play in the campaign.

Antic welcomed the 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund centre-back into a 23-man squad for the match in the Black Sea resort of Constanta and the friendly with Sweden in Belgrade on April 1.

“He will have a chance in the build-up over the next few days to prove that he belongs here and I am confident he will break into the first team,” Antic told reporters on Friday.

“It is possible that he will open up more alternatives in our system because he can play in several positions.”

Born in the Bosnian city of Banjaluka to Serb parents before the former Yugoslavia’s break-up, Subotic spent his childhood in Germany and then moved to the United States, where he played for their Under-20 national side.

In December, he opted to play for Serbia after turning down an offer from the Bosnian FA.

Serbia top Group 7 with nine points from four matches, ahead of Lithuania on goal difference. France, Austria and Romania have four each.

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