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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Group D - Serbia

Nickname – Beli Orlovi (White Eagles)

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

When everyone thought that France would come on top of their qualifying group, Radomir Antic’s Serbia wanted to have a say. So they had to change what was taken for granted and scooped the first place for them. 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses, scoring 22 goals and 6 of those goals had the signature of Milan Jovanovic. France had to settle for the famous playoff which had Republic of Henry feeling Henry’s hand stating “nous sommes allez au coupe du monde, Merci Platini”.

H2H

Jun 13 Pretoria Serbia v Ghana - Ghana never played against Serbia. But if you head back to 1997 Yugoslavia defeated Ghana 3-1 in a international friendly.

Jun 18 Pt Elizabeth Germany v Serbia - Germany won the only 2 encounters played between them. 2-1, 1-0. If you prefer to go back in time when Serbia was Yugoslavia then the counter slightly changes seeing Germany winning 16 times, drawing 4 and losing 7.

Jun 23 Nelspruit Australia v Serbia - We have to travel back to 1988 while Serbia was still part of Yugoslavia to testify the socceroos only played match against them. 1-0 was the result favoring of the Australians in the Olympic Games. Last time Australia lost a match against European opposition was in the beginning of 2007 against Denmark and they have more recently defeated the mighty Netherlands 1-2.

Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (Sporting Lisbon), Bojan Isailovic (Zaglebie Lubin), Andjelko Djuricic (Uniao Leiria)

Defenders: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), Antonio Rukavina (1860 Munich), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), Aleksandar Lukovic (Udinese), Ivan Obradovic (Real Zaragoza), Aleksandar Kolarov (Lazio)

Midfielders: Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan), Gojko Kacar (Hertha Berlin), Nenad Milijas (Wolves), Zdravko Kuzmanovic (Stuttgart), Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade), Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow), Zoran Tosic (Manchester United) , Milos Ninkovic (Dynamo Kiev), Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liege)

Strikers: Nikola Zigic (Birmingham), Marko Pantelic (Ajax), Danko Lazovic (Zenit St Petersburg), Dragan Mrdja (Vojvodina Novi Sad).

FORMATION

Radomir Antic vision of the best Serbian formation alludes to a 4-4-2 formation united with a 4-5-1 attacking strategy with the x-factor of Kolarov powerful long shots. He often and wisely makes sudden changes between those two formations. Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Kolarov, Vidic, Vukovic; Stankovic, Milijas, Krasic, Tosic/Jovanovic; Zigic & Pantelic.

BEST PLAYERS

Nemanja Vidic is a strong commander in Serbia’s defense as much he is for his club Manchester United. His imposing presence provides assurance to any defensive line. Other attributes include his pedigree to score goals making him a threat to any defense when we talk about dead-ball situations. Many could state that his lack of pace would matter, but has he supplies an aggressive approach combined with tackling perfection you won’t even notice weaknesses. His consistency has permitted him to feature as a regular line-up started for 37 times this season.

Milos Krasic is expected to play all matches in this World Cup just as he did in the qualifying prior to this major event. He is a prolific right winger even though he is able to perform on the left wing as well, but sure that position with be occupied by Jovanovic that recently joined Liverpool. His pace, passing ability mixed with vision allows him to be a constant threat to oppositions. Krasic and Jovanovic have very similar high-standardization so unless they are individually well tracked they will be causing damage to all group’s teams. Krasic 36 matches 11 goals; Jovanovic 27 games 15 goals.

Dejan Stankovic this season accomplished with Internazionale a lot through his 38 matches, 5 goals and 5 assists. He has been already considered the best Serbian player of the year in 2006 and his accolades include more than 20 major trophies internationally. Well recognized by his fighting spirit which combined with intelligence, powerful shooting, the ability to deliver through open play or within dead ball situations and a strong break passing skill makes him a very solid performer as well a excellent captain.

Nikola Zigic from Valencia has spent most of this season on loan at Racing Santander and delivered a total 18 goals out of 24 matches. The 6’8” player has been approached to sign for Birmingham next season. His height is unquestionably his best quality closely followed by an effective ball control alongside his instinct to score from each chance provided make him a player that will catch your eye.

SURPRISE

The surprise omissions are Nemanja Matic from Chelsea, Ajax forward Miralem Sulejmani and Psv defender Jagos Vukovic.

STATEMENTS

"We're thrilled to have booked a place in South Africa. We've proven ourselves to be a strong team. I am sure that we will play the best we can and not let our fans down at the World Cup," Serbia forward Nikola Zigic.

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- Radomir Antic –

1 Spanish La LIGA – Atletico Madrid - 1996;

1 Copa Del Rey – Atletico Madrid – 1996;

Career made of 573 matches with 44% Win, 25% Draw, 31% Loss, GS 1,55 GA 1,2

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength – Very strong squad with a thriving defensive and attacking line based on the likes of Ivanovic, Vidic, Stankovic, Jovanovic, Krasic, Zigic, Pantelic. Last 10 matches they have scored 22 goals and conceded 4. Among those matches they played against World Cup placed teams and they only lost 1 out of 10. They will be very dangerous attacking from the wings.

Weaknesses – Beyond Stankovic they don’t seem to have someone to perform at a high level in the midfield, so they are a team that bases their transition in one player, otherwise they will have to play direct/long ball strategy once their defense and attack are trustworthy. Their regular goalkeeper hasn’t settled in the last seasons which can create a dangerous precedent.

Opportunities – Winning their opening match against top opposition from Ghana will put Serbia in a very comfortable position to advance to the second round. Having their defensive line cancelling the likes of Kewell and Cahill will open a window of opportunity to see the sun shining for the Serbian side.

Threats – Ghana are strong in the midfield, area that Serbia are not, meaning if they keep their midfield cancelling the transitions of Serbian attack they will have a chance to take this and get to the second round.Wrong result against Ghana in the first match will severally reduce the chances of advancing, especially if we take into account they haven’t ever won against Germany. They won’t be able to rely on last match against Australia, because you should never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

Serbia is the number 16 of the world. Ahead of Mexico, Uruguay and Cameroon; behind of Chile, USA and Greece.

CASTROL INDEX

LATEST 10 MATCHES

Serbia 1 0 Austria

Faroe Islands 0 2 Serbia

South Africa 1 3 Serbia

Serbia 1 1 France

Serbia 5 0 Romania

Lithuania 2 1 Serbia

N. Ireland 0 1 Serbia

Serbia 1 0 South Korea

Algeria 0 3 Serbia

Japan 0 3 Serbia

New Zealand 1 0 Serbia

Serbia 0 0 Poland


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