GROUP D: Can Serbia follow up their brilliant qualification form?

Serbia were the surprise packet of UEFA qualifying, winning seven of their ten games and scoring 22 goals along the way.

They have star quality on every line led by Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic and Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic and a manager (Radomir Antic) who has a wealth of experience in the top leagues in the world.

But recently, the Serbians have dropped their guard and put in some below-par performances highlighted by a loss to New Zealand and a scoreless draw with Poland.

It is one of three things: Either a flat spot in their preparation, a sign that their qualifying form was above them or they could be playing it smart and just flying in under the radar.

It’s hard to tell just exactly what the answer is but I’m certain they will not put up performances like those two when the real stuff starts and believe they can make it to the Round of 16.

They face tough opponents in Group D but if their forwards, Nikola Zigic and Marko Pantelic, can stand up then they could cause a few upsets as you know the defence and midfield will be on top of their respective games.

A potential second-round clash with England is on the cards but that might be as far as it goes.

Serbia

Playing schedule: Ghana (Pretoria) June 13; Germany (Port Elizabeth) June 18; Australia (Nelspruit) June 23

Also known as: Beli Orlovi (White Eagles)
Manager: Radomir Antic (SRB)
Captain: Dejan Stankovic
Key players: Nemanja Vidic, Dejan Stankovic, Branislav Ivanovic
Wildcard: Marko Pantelic
Player to watch: Milos Krasic
Most caps: Savo Milosevic (102). Of this squad: Dejan Stankovic (88)
Top goalscorer: Savo Milosevic (37). Of this squad: Nikola Zigic (16)
FIFA ranking: 15
Qualifying: Top in UEFA group stage.
Appearance: 3rd
Best result: Round of 16 - 1998

Serbia squad

Goalkeepers

Vladimir Stojkovic (Wigan)
Bojan Isailovic (Zaglebie Lubin)
Andjelko Djuricic (Uniao Leiria)

Defenders

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

Midfielders

Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan)
Nenad Milijas (Wolverhampton)
Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow)
Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liege)
Milos Ninkovic (Dynamo Kiev)
Zdravko Kuzmanovic (Stuttgart)
Zoran Tosic (Cologne)
Gojko Kacar (Hertha Berlin)
Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade)

Forwards

Nikola Zigic (Valencia)
Marko Pantelic (Ajax Amsterdam)
Danko Lazovic (Zenit St Petersburg)
Dragan Mrdja (Vojvodina Novi Sad)

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