Why Serbia Is the Dark Horse for the 2010 World Cup
Everybody is talking with the World Cup on the horizon, and people are giving their picks for the month-long tournament.
The usual suspects are being mentioned: Spain, Brazil, Argentina, and all the other footballing superpowers.
One team, though, hasn't: Serbia.
The Serbians have a great side, the strongest they've had since the days of Dejan Savicevic and Dragan Stojkovic, back in the days of the old Yugoslavia.
In qualifying they topped their group, finishing above the likes of France, Austria, and Romania, beating the last 5-0 in the final group game.
They have been drawn in Group D in South Africa, along with Germany, Ghana, and Australia.
Not the easiest group to be placed in, but still they have the ability to beat the likes of Ghana and Australia.
The team is strong enough to challenge the Germans for top spot in the group.
If they end up finishing second, there is the possibility they could face England in the second round.
But on current form the Serbians would be confident of beating either the Germans or the English.
Let's take a look at the main men for the Serbians.
Coach Radomir Antic has led the team since the beginning of the qualifying campaign. Considered a legend in his native country, he had been continuously linked with the national team in the past. He is the best man to lead the country into a World Cup as an independent nation.
Nemanja Vidic is the rock of the defence. The Manchester United centre-back has good company too—Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic is his partner.
Also, the likes of Neven Subotic and Alexsander Kolarov add to what is a really good back line.
The defence has to be considered one of the strongest in the tournament; the midfield could be put in the same bracket.
Captain Dejan Stankovic is the heartbeat of the side. The Internazionale midfielder may be getting on but still has the class to perform on the biggest stage.
The Serbs play an attacking 4-4-2 system. This allows their two strong attacking wingers licence to wreak havoc in the final third.
Milan Jovanovic and Milos Krasic of Standard Liege and CSKA Moscow respectively are highly-rated and extremely talented players. Expected to make moves to big clubs in the summer, they will be hoping to earn a move in South Africa.
The forward line is an old-fashioned little and large combination. Nikola Zigic and either Danko Lazovic or Marko Pantelic has goals in it.
Zigic, the Valencia forward, stands 6'7" and is a goal scorer by trade. He does, though, possess really good feet and holds the ball up well.
So all in all, the Serbs have a starting XI, and they also have the likes of Ivica Dragutinovic, Zoran Tosic, and Zdravko Kuzmanovic in reserve.
Going into the World Cup then, if there is a better outsider than Serbia, I'm yet to come across them.
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