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Posted by Alex Milic on 06/06/2010

The World Cup in South Africa will be Serbia’s first appearance as an independent nation after previously competing under the flag of Yugoslavia, and later Serbia and Montenegro. As the Yugoslavs, their best performance at a World Cup was reaching the semi finals twice, once in the first tournament of 1930 and then again in 1962.

They reached the final of the European Championships on two occasions, but their best achievement at international level was winning Olympic Gold and winning the World Youth Cup in 1987. In recent years the youth team has been the shining light in Serbian football

How They Qualified

Impressive performances gave Serbia top spot in Group 7 ahead of France, and the team wrapped up qualification with a game to spare. The moment of glory came with a 5-0 thrashing of Romania in Belgrade. Defeat to France was disappointing, and leaves a few questions unanswered ahead of South Africa, but overall this was an efficient qualification.

Strengths

The defence is the strongest part of the Serbian squad, Nemanja Vidic and Branislav Ivanovic commanding the backline to perfection and their attacking instincts at set pieces proved valuable in Serbia’s qualifying campaign.

The two attacking midfielders, Milos Krasic and Milan Jovanovic, were exceptional on the wings throughout the campaign and their performances caught the eye of Europe’s best clubs.

Weaknesses

Serbia’s weakness can come from the central midfield. Dejan Stankovic and Nenad Milijas played throughout qualifying and performed well but Milijas’ lack of pace can be a problem.

Serbia also lack a classic striker. Target man Nikola Zigic can have a game in which he is not seen at all and Marko Pantelic produces more assists than goals. The lack of depth in this position could be a big problem for the team.

Goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic has gotten under the skin of many Serb fans for his failure to find a first team spot with his clubs. His ego is huge and he constantly trials with clubs that are too good for him.

The Coach

Radomir Antic is one of the most well-known managers around, having taken the reign of the big three Spanish clubs. His appointment was greeted with mixed reactions from the demanding Serbian media and public. In the team’s first home game against Lithuania, there were only 15,000 fans, which angered Antic. But as games went on and Serbia’s growing dominance over their opponents grew, the whole nation was behind 'Raddy'. He is like a father figure to the players.

Key Players

Milos Krasic

The blonde haired winger was a delight for the Serbian public during the qualifying campaign. His electrifying pace, great passing and a precise shooting where valuable attributes to the teams play. His skills have caught the eye of European footballs biggest clubs, he is growing day by day. One to watch out for at the World Cup.

Milan Jovanovic

Currently Serbia's best player, he has electrifying pace and a great football brain. His attacking instincts and eye for goal was a joy to watch during the qualifying campaign, and his excellent performances have seen many European clubs consider meeting his eight million euro valuation. He was Serbia’s top scorer with five goals.

Nemanja Vidic & Dejan Stankovic

Serbia's most experienced players will have to be at their best when the tournament kicks off, these two will be valuable to the team on and off the pitch. In recent years Serbia has lacked a true leader and in Vidic and Stankovic, they now have two. Great characters and vital for the sides success.

Comments

Posted by Vanilla Bear on 06/07/2010

Great article but I dont agree with the midfield being a weakness for the white eagles. I think the writer forgot players like Kuzmanovic and Kacar who play great football.

Posted by Pagliuca on 06/07/2010

Serbia has a good squad and they have some fantastic players in Serie A. I looked at the attacking, I agree that may be a slight weakness but I think it's competent enough to get the job done. The midfield and defense is very good. I think Serbia could go very far in this tournament. It all will develop if Antic can get them mentally and physically ready, because this tournament is a month long and being tactically good is fine but the mental and physical part is what can carry it.

Posted by Nikola Culic on 06/08/2010

I think Serbia will surprise everyone. We all think in the back of our minds that it will be like every tournament we are in and get disappointed but this is the best team we ever had and there is alot of quality on the squad. We will take care of Ghana in a close game, surprise Germany with a big win,and tie the Aussies because that will be all we need from that match. Godd luck Serbia we love you and are with you in Africa. Serbia!

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