And while talking about Serbia we got to thinking, “What if Yugoslavia was still a united country? How awesome would that football team be?” So, off we ran to the computer, and to Wikipedia, to look up the current line-ups for the countries of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia and Macedonia.
My united Yugoslavia starting 11: G Stojkovic (Sporting) – D Vidic (Manchester United), D Ivanovic (Chelsea), D Simunic (Hoffenheim), D Subotic (Borussia Dortmund) – M Tosic (Manchester United), M Pjanic (Olympique Lyon), M Stankovic (Inter Milan), M Modric (Tottenham Hotspurs) – F Dzeko (Wolfsburg), F Olic (Bayern Munich)
To me, it looks like a team that could win the whole damn thing. Also note, a fair number of Serbs made it on my starting 11. And, we haven’t even considered the bench…
But, this is not a united Yugoslavia we face on Friday--- it’ll be the Serbs alone. A Serbian team that must win, mind you. Their game against Ghana was a severe blow, not that they played poorly (they didn’t), but lacked a final touch. I would think they had originally expected to beat Ghana, beat Australia and perhaps draw with us. And now, that plan is off the rails. They’ll need a win over the Germans to keep their progression dreams alive.
The subject of my favorite Manchester United chant, look for Nemanja Vidic to marshal the Serbian back four against a free-flowing, attacking German midfield. Mesut Oezil and Co. will have a bit more trouble penetrating this back line than they did against the Socceroos as Ivanovic, Subotic and Vidic are all, truly, world class.
Stojkovic - Ivanovic, Vidic, Subotic, Kolarov - Krasic, Stankovic, Kuzmanovic, Jovanovic - Zigic, Pantelic
Lukovic was sent off against Ghana and is unavailable for this match.
Neuer - Lahm, Mertesacker, Friedrich, Badstuber - Schweinsteiger, Khedira - Mueller, Ozil, Podolski – Klose
It’s unlikely Herr Loew will make any changes to the side that demolished the Aussies. And, who can blame him?
If Badstuber doesn’t get caught with his pants down too often, and the midfield keeps up their ball distribution and crisp passing, die Mannschaft is likely to come out on top. I’d love to see a bit more finish out of Oezil and Klose as well, as the chances in this match will be a great deal fewer.
All in all, there is much to be confident about. If we can build on an inspiring opening performance, and garner 3 points from this match, we should be clear in to the last 16.
Auf geht’s Deutschland!