We preview the 2010 FIFA World Cup, set for June 11-July 11 in South Africa
Apperance: First (was Serbia-Montenegro in 2006)
Last time there: First appearance
Best performance: First appearance
Known as Serbia-Montenegro since their separation from Yugoslavia, this is Serbia's first dance as a single entity.
The Serbs qualified out of their UEFA group by besting France, among others, even though Serbia failed to beat France in either of their head-to-head meetings. They went 7-1 for 21 of their 22 points against the other four teams (Austria, Lithuania, Romania, and Faroe Islands), while France only mustered a 5-1-2 mark against those four teams for 17 points.
Serbia will be dangerous because of their back line. They are a good defensive club that has some creativity up front. Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United is the ringleader of the defense. Vidic is a very aggressive player who is capable of crossing the line if he's not careful (he was sent off during a 2006 World Cup match). Branislav Ivanovic is another tough defender for Serbia. Vidic and Ivanovic will gladly set aside their Premier League rivalry for the sake of country -- Ivanovic plays for Premier League and FA Cup champion Chelsea.
In the midfield, Serbia has talent and grit, too. Dejan Stankovic can play as an attacking or defending midfielder, and Milos Krasic is dangerous on offense.
This draw isn't awfully daunting. This isn't a "Group of Death" or anything, though Germany will be troublesome, and Ghana can really attack. Serbia will make things tough on opponents, and they have a decent chance of advancing.
June 13 vs. Ghana (Pretoria)
June 18 vs. Germany (Port Elizabeth)
June 23 vs. Australia (Nelspruit)