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Friday, June 18, 2010

GERMANY vs SERBIA >>> Match Preview

Germany momentum mounting

Undoubtedly the form team at the World Cup after their 4-0 demolition of Australia, Germany go into the match with confidence flowing and their hopes of qualification almost assured if they pick up another win.
Almost forced into playing an extremely attacking formation with the injuries to Simon Rolfes and Michael Ballack pre-tournament, the Germans line up without a holding midfielder - preferring instead to play Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira in the two central areas with Mesut Ozil in an advanced attacking role ahead of them - and it works. Fluid in attack, Lukas Podolski can use his pace down the left with Thomas Muller providing the vision and guile on the right for main man Miroslav Klose.

Before the tournament, many were talking of the German striking conundrum but the first match won over the critics and a tough Serbian defence will have a lot to do if they are to keep a clean sheet. They do, of course, have two of the best in the Premier League - Nemanja Vidic and Branislav Ivanovic - to aid their cause, but the lack of attacking options shown by the Serbs in their first game suggests that their defence will find itself under a lot of pressure.

A lot more can be expected from giant striker Nikola Zigic, while Milos Krasic and Dejan Stankovic were just as toothless in the first game defeat to Ghana and will need to come to the fore if they are to have any hopes of causing an upset.

Germany player to watch: Lukas Podolski
Having failed to fire for Bayern Munich, the Cologne striker moved back home but had a pretty poor season by his standards last year. Still, he seems to turn it on when he pulls on the Germany shirt and his opening goal against Australia proved he hasn't lost his touch. Full of pace and direct running, his role down the left flank is crucial in getting behind the opposition defence.

Serbia player to watch: Neven Subotic
Linked with Arsenal and Manchester United, the young Dortmund defender is one of the hottest properties in the European game and will come in for the suspended Aleksandar Lukovic. A tough tackler with good aerial ability, Subotic chose to play for Serbia over USA (having settled in the country in 1999) and will have the eyes of the world upon him as he auditions for a possible big move in the summer.

Key battle: Thomas Muller v Aleksandar Kolarov
Muller has been one of the form players in Europe this season and has been keeping Klose and Mario Gomez out of the Bayern Munich side. His versatility allows him space on the right for this country, but he carries a good goal threat when he cuts in and he will also be keen to banish the Champions League final from his memory after he missed a one-on-one chance against Inter that would have levelled the scores at 1-1. Kolarov is another to have had a good season (albeit in a poor overall one for Lazio) and has many admirers in the Italian game - most notably champions Inter Milan. Tall and strong, his pace and power are vital to Serbia's defence.
Trivia: If Miroslav Klose scores against Serbia he will go level with the greatest of all-time, Pele, on 12 goals in the competition. Ronaldo has the record with 15 though.
Stats: Serbia have lost all four of their matches at the World Cup and have conceded three goals to penalties in their last three World Cup matches.

German confidence is high and their attacking prowess suggests that they should win comfortably, most likely sending Serbia out.


Take GERMANY give 3/4 >>> SERBIA


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