BBC Home
Explore the BBC
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Serbia and Montenegro coach quits
Ilija Petkovic
Petkovic managed Serbia and montenegro since 2003
Serbia and Montenegro coach Ilija Petkovic has resigned following his side's World Cup exit.

Petkovic's team suffered defeats to Holland, Argentina and the Ivory Coast against a backdrop of training ground arguments and disputes over tactics.

Petkovic also cited Montenegro's impending breakaway to become a separate association as another reason for a lack of squad unity.

He said: "As of now my function as team head coach ceases to exist."

Serbia and Montenegro were playing as the final combination of nations under the old unified Yugoslavia banner.

But following Montenegro lodging a formal declaration of independence on 3 June, the two nations' football associations were set to formally split in Belgrade on Wednesday.

And despite claims that squad unity was strong heading into the tournament, the coach hinted that his players never showed the enthusiasm needed to succeed under the combined banner.

At the World Cup, we showed where we stand, we showed our true face

Serbia and Montenegro coach Ilija Petkovic

"I had the ambition to lead our country, which is faced with the world's mixture of fear, hatred and scorn, toward a new image, but I failed," Petkovic said.

"It makes a whole lot of difference when players sing their anthem and shed a tear, while ours simply turned their heads as the old Yugoslav anthem was played.

"Football is the game where all players' characteristics, their unity, morale, character, discipline and determination, come to the open.

"At the World Cup, we showed where we stand, we showed our true face."

He added: "For three years, I searched for players who could beat Argentina.

"Time will show whether I could not find such players, or they do not exist here."

As the successor state, Serbia will keep its Fifa membership while Montenegro will apply for a seat with soccer's governing body and aim to take part in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Petkovic said: "With a new flag and Serbia's coat of arms, we have a right for optimism and hope at the next championships."

Serbia & Montenegro team guide
22 May 06 |  Serbia & Montenegro
Referee Rodriguez annoys Petkovic
21 Jun 06 |  Serbia & Montenegro
Montenegro chooses independence
22 May 06 |  Europe
Pick your Serbia & Montenegro XI
31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
World Cup schedule
25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability Sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other Sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us