Dragan Stojkovic was hired on Wednesday as coach of Serbia’s national soccer team, three weeks before the squad’s first qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup.

The 55-year-old Stojkovic replaces Ljubisa Tumbakovic, who was fired in December after the team failed to qualify for the European Championship in the playoffs.

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Serbia is scheduled to play Ireland in its opening qualifier on March 24. Portugal, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg are also in Group A.

Stojkovic played for Radnicki Nis, Red Star Belgrade, Marseille and Verona before joining Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1994, where he was coached by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

He was a skillful midfielder who made 84 appearances and scored 15 goals for Yugoslavia’s national team from 1983-2001.

After ending his playing career in 2001, Stojkovic…

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