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21st Jun 2024

Euro 2024 boss reveals player was ‘brought back to life’ after collapsing at half time

Zoe Hodges

‘We brought him back to life’

Serbian manager Dragan Stojkovic said defender Strahinja Pavlovic collapsed in the dressing room at half time in their 1-1 draw against Slovenia.

It is thought the Red Bull Salzburg centre-back suffered from heat exhaustion but miraculously he went on to play the full 90 minutes.

Stojkovic said: “Pavlovic collapsed, we brought him back to life, he was fine, but he foiled a bit. We also saw the Slovenians when we were going back to the changing rooms commenting: ‘It’s so hot, we’re going to collapse.'”

The Serbian manager claimed that two more of his players also struggled with the heat but praised his team for their resilience.

“We can be proud of the boys for wanting to fight and that moral-willing moment is at a very high level.

“If you add to that, one situation where the game was played at 3:00pm and that two or three players collapsed at half-time, then you know how difficult it was to come back.”

Serbia facing uphill task to qualify

Serbia looked certain they were going to be eliminated as they trailed 1-0 to Slovenia but Luka Jovic equalised in the 95th minute to keep their Euros dream alive.

Temperatures have reached the high 20s out in Munich this week with pundits commenting on the humidity being a problem for players. Elsewhere in Germany, torrential rain and thunderstorms have caused cancellations of fan events.  

Stojkovic was speaking to media at Serbia’s base camp in Augsburg. His team were having a day off with their families ahead of their crucial clash with Denmark next week.

The Serbian boss insists his side can win: “It must be optimism. There is no room for negativity. I don’t admit that the Danes are better, I don’t accept it.”

The 59-year-old refused to answer questions about Serbia’s threat to leave Euro 2024 following chants by Albania and Croatia fans directed towards the Serbs.