Serbia fires Antic, hires Petrovic to coach team

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

Radomir Antic was fired as Serbia coach on Wednesday and replaced by Vladimir Petrovic.

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona coach had been suspended for four matches by FIFA after insulting a referee at the World Cup, where Serbia exited in the first round despite beating eventual semifinalist Germany in the group stage.

Without Antic, Serbia won its opening European Championship qualifier against the Faeroe Islands, but drew against Slovenia.

The Serbian federation had backed Antic as coach after the World Cup but decided to sack him following the draw against Slovenia.

Federation president Tomislav Karadzic said the suspension was one of the reasons for firing Antic.

''The coach was missing on the bench, the team cannot be guided from the stands,'' Karadzic said.

Karadzic said Serbia did not play well under Antic after qualifying with ease for the World Cup.

Antic's reported monthly salary of ?100,000 was also a source of friction after Serbia fell short of expectations at the World Cup.

Petrovic's first games in charge will be against Estonia and Italy next month in Group C of Euro 2012 qualifying.

''We talked to several candidates but Petrovic was the only possible solution,'' Karadzic said.

Petrovic is expected in Belgrade before the end of Thursday to sign the contract that will run through 2011, the end of qualifying for the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

Should Serbia qualify, Petrovic's contract will be automatically extended.

Petrovic, who was a striker for Arsenal and Red Star Belgrade, has been coaching Romanian club FC Timisoara. Timisoara said on its website that a news conference was to be held later Wednesday.

Petrovic previously coached China's national team, but he was dismissed in 2008 after the Asian nation was eliminated from qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Petrovic was hired by Red Star Belgrade in 2009, but was fired after less than a year in charge.

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