The last time Germany played in this World Cup, they brought joy to millions of goal-starved fans with their 4-0 demolition of Australia. They sit top of Group D and a win in today’s match will all but seal a spot in the last-16 for them. Serbia have no points and lost what was considered to be one of their easier matches in the Group stages 1-0 to Ghana. A loss today, will see Serbia almost definitely out of the competition while a draw will leave their chances of progressing to the knock-out stages, depended on other matches in the group. So, Serbia must win today if they want remain in control of their future in the tournament.
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Germany was always expected to beat Australia, but what caught everyone by surprise was the sheer clinical nature with which they took Australia down. The comprehensive 4-0 win, resulted in Germany leading the ‘favourites’ pack. One of the trickiest things that teams have to deal with at the World Cup is the frantic ‘labelling’ for if Germany win today, they will raise expectations of their fans to an even higher level but if they lose, many will dismiss them as having peaked at the wrong time and morale could plummet. Hopefully, the German team which has a very good mix of young and experienced players will not let the hype and media distract them. Their manager, Joachim Loew will not want to tamper with a team that won so dazzlingly. The creative genius Mesut Oezil, Miroslav Klose, Lucas Podolski, Thomas Mueller, Philipp Lahm and Sami Khedira were all very impressive in the win against Australia and will keep their place in starting line-up. The only change that Loew might consider is keeping Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has a cold, on the bench.
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Serbia were not exceptionally bad or great against Ghana. Aleksandar Lukovic was sent off and Serbia were reduced to 10 men in the last 15 mins when they conceded an absurd penalty which Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan converted. Ghana were the better team over the 90 mins and Serbia deserved the defeat. However, Serbia cannot be taken lightly. They have one of the strongest defenses in the tournament lead by captain Nemanja Vidic with Branislav Ivanovic. Their attack is lead by Nikola Zigic with Milos Krasic, Dejan Stankovic and Milan Jovanovic in midfield. Serbia are seen by many as potential last-16 candidates and it would be hard to argue with that especially, after their incredible qualification run where they finished top of their group, forcing France in to play-offs. They cannot be written off just yet.
“Serbia are like a boxer who has taken the first blow, and they will be poised to hit back.” – Joachim Loew, Germany manager
“We know we have to rise to the occasion. That’s the trademark of real champions.” – Raddy Antic, Serbia manager
Stars to Watch Out For:
Germany: Mesut Oezil, Philip Lahm, Lucas Podolski, Miroslav Klose
Serbia: Nemanja Vidic, Branislav Ivanovoc, Nikola Zigic, Dejan Stankovic
Germany have conceded seven goals in their last three World Cup matches against teams from the Balkans.
Serbia have lost all four World Cup matches they have played.