BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic said he would be in charge of next week’s Euro 2020 playoff at home to Scotland despite a one-match touchline ban handed out by UEFA for the team’s late arrival for a Nations League clash last month.
“I will be on the bench against Scotland,” Tumbakovic told a video news conference on Monday as he also answered questions about Serbia’s chances of winning the one-off home tie on Nov.12 and clinching a berth in next year’s 24-nation tournament.
UEFA had given Tumbakovic the one-match ban and fined the Balkan nation’s FA 20,000 euros ($23,274) for a delayed kickoff in their 1-0 Nations League home defeat by Hungary last month.
Serbia came out of the tunnel several minutes late at Red Star stadium for the Group B3 match on Oct. 11 and European soccer’s governing body said it had also fined Tumbakovic 5,000 euros for being the prime culprit.
UEFA did not specify, however, whether Tumbakovic is to serve the ban against Scotland or for Serbia’s Nations League visit to Hungary on Nov. 15.
“The Control, Ethics and Disciplinary body has decided to fine the Football Association of Serbia 20,000 for being responsible for the late kick off,” UEFA said in a statement.
“It has also decided to order the suspension of Serbia’s coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic for one UEFA competition match in which he would otherwise participate and fine him with 5,000 euros.”
The winner of the Serbia v Scotland clash in Belgrade will clinch a Euro 2020 Group D berth alongside England, Croatia and the Czech Republic, with the round-robin matches to be played at Wembley and Hampden Park.
The 24-nation tournament was originally due to be held from June 12-July 12 this year but was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now to be staged from June 11-July 11 next year.
Speaking of the match against the Scots, Tumbakovic said Serbia faced a tough challenge to qualify for their first European Championship as an independent nation, with Scotland vying for their first appearance since 1996.
“They are a physical and compact side with several players plying their trade at top Premier League clubs,” said the 68-year old who is from Belgrade.
“Their left wing-back Andy Robertson (of Liverpool) is one of the best in the world and their road to the winner-takes-all clash against us has been nothing short of impressive.”
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Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris
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