Serbia's U20 team scored in the 28th minute of extra time to defeat heavy favorites Brazil 2-1 in the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand on Saturday. Tottenham Hotspur's young defender Milos Veljkovic started the match in central defense and went the distance, putting in a stout defensive effort to help Serbia get the victory.
This is the first time Serbia has participated in the U20 World Cup as an independent nation since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Milos was a key player for the Serbians, starting in central defense and playing every minute of every match for Veljko Paunovic's young team. Veljkovic was also a member of the Serbia team that won the 2013 U19 European Championships.
Veljkovic didn't have the best of club seasons in 2014-15. He was virtually ignored in his first loan at Middlesborough, and was injured soon after starting his second loan with Charlton Athletic. For him to recover and regain enough fitness not only to participate but start and play every single minute for the U20 World Cup champions is a fantastic achievement for the young defender. En route his Serbian team knocked off fellow Tottenham youth teamer Cameron Carter-Vickers and a USA squad that was among the favorites for the competition, as well as a highly-favored Brazil team that hadn't given up a goal in over 500 minutes of play.
Veljkovic is hoping to make an impression on Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino so that he can try and nab a roster place with Tottenham's first team. A key role for a World Cup title-winning team doesn't guarantee that, but it should be a pretty substantial feather in his cap. Who knows, this Cup followed by a good pre-season might put Veljkovic in contention for some matches in cups and Europa League group stages, or it could turn into a Premier League loan.
Watch highlights of Serbia's 2-1 victory below. Veljkovic is wearing #5.