Australia take to the field for their final group game of South Africa 2010 against Serbia knowing that only victory for them combined with a win for either Ghana or Germany will see them into the next round of the competition. Serbia’s confidence will be sky high after their superb victory over tournament favorites Germany in their previous Group D game and another win here against Australia will take them into the second round.
After being taking apart by Germany in their first group game, Australia were looking to get their South Africa 2010 campaign back on track with a win against Ghana. The game started off very well for them, with striker Brett Hollman getting the goal to put them one goal up early on. But against the run of play a rare Ghana attack led to a shot on goal which was saved on the line by the hand of Harry Kewell. Once Kewell was sent off for deliberate handball and Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan equalized from the resulting penalty, Australia were always going to struggle to win. The Socceroos did put in a resolute defensive performance though, and it’s that steely determination which has left them with a glimmer of hope going into the final set of games in Group D.
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Australia vs Serbia Odds:
With Harry Kewell now suspended following his sending off, Coach Pim Verbeek will welcome strong-running midfielder Tim Cahill back into the side following his own suspension for a straight red against Germany. Cahill’s presence in midfield will be desperately needed against a hard-working and skillful Serbia team that will be tough to break down. Australia will be forced to go for an all-out attacking system to win this game and they could face problems on the counter without being able to call on Craig Moore who joins Kewell in having so sit this one out through suspension.
Serbia’s World Cup hopes were dealt a big blow when they lost their first group game 1-0 against Ghana. It wasn’t just the result, but the performance that had the Serbia camp in a negative mood. Misplaced passes, poor attempts at goal and defensive blunders seemed to indicate that Serbia were being primed for an early exit from South Africa 2010. Their performance against Germany however, was outstanding. Although, just like Australia, Serbia’s second group game was defined by a sending off. When Germany striker Miroslav Klose received his marching orders in the 37th minute of the game, it allowed the Serbian midfielders more time on the ball and the change in their team performance was noticeable. In a matter of minutes, Serbia were ahead through Milan Jovanonvic after he latched onto the knockdown from giant forward Nicola Zigic. For the remainder of the game, Radomir Antic’s team played some excellent possession soccer in midfield, but still had to rely on poor finishing by the Germany strikers to come away from their encounter with the group favorites with an unlikely victory.
To beat Australia, Serbia will have to put pressure on the weakened Australian central defense. If Milos Krasic and Dejan Stankovic can take over the midfield and get time on the ball, there will be holes in the backline for them to exploit. With Australia in a situation where they have to win to have chance of progressing, Coach Pim Verbeek will instruct his midfield to push deep into the Serbian half of the field, so the passing of the deep-lying midfielder players is going to be very important on the break for Serbia.
It’s certainly going be a close game with both sides playing open and expansive soccer, but don’t expect goals from the strikers on show for either team. This game will be won from midfield and the outcome could depend on the performance of the two team’s attacking midfield stars – Milos Krasic and Tim Cahill. Serbia should just about edge this one because their confidence levels will be sky high after defeating Germany and they have the counter-attacking players to exploit Australia’s need to win.
Serbia vs Australia Prediction: Serbia 2-1 Australia.
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