The World Cup in South Africa will be Serbia‚Äôs 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.
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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs best clubs.
Serbia‚Äôs weakness can come from the central midfield. Dejan Stankovic and Nenad Milijas played throughout qualifying and performed well but Milijas‚Äô 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.
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‚Äôs first home game against Lithuania, there were only 15,000 fans, which angered Antic. But as games went on and Serbia‚Äôs growing dominance over their opponents grew, the whole nation was behind 'Raddy'. He is like a father figure to the players.
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.
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‚Äôs 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.