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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Serbia & Montenegro team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Serbia & Montenegro ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group C):

  • v Holland - 11 June, 1400 BST, Leipzig
  • v Argentina - 16 June, 1400 BST, Gelsenkirchen
  • v Ivory Coast - 21 June, 2000 BST, Munich

    How did they get to Germany: Produced a set of impressive displays to qualify undefeated at the top of their group - two points ahead of favourites Spain.

    Qualifying star: Former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman, now at Atletico Madrid, scored vital goals, including the equaliser in Spain and the winner against Bosnia, which booked Serbia & Montenegro's place in Germany.

    Manager: Ilija Petkovic is a former international, who coached Yugoslavia for two months in 2001. He has successfully put his faith in young talent after the likes of the world class Predrag Mijatovic retired.

    Mladen Krstajic

    Captain: Defender Mladen Krstajic, who plays his club football for Germany's Schalke 04, superbly marshalls what is currently the meanest international backline in Europe.

    World Cup pedigree: None following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

    Present star man: Red Star Belgrade striker Nikola Zigic, 6'8" and dubbed the "world's tallest player", has been tracked by Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham this season and a good showing could result in a big-money move overseas.

    Strengths: Defensively very hard to penetrate and well organised. Incredibly, conceded only one goal in qualification, against Spain, and prior to that draw the team enjoyed seven qualifying clean sheets in a row - a new world record.

    Weaknesses: May suffer from inexperience and a lack of midfield creativity to feed their strikers.

    Nemenja Vidic

    Did you know? Manchester United defender Nemenja Vidic, one of two Premiership players in the squad along with Portsmouth's Zvonimir Vukic, has a webbed foot with two toes welded together.

    World ranking: 44

    Odds: 100/1

    Local view: "They're underdogs with good recent form. Supporters point to a solid squad, lacking in big names, but consistent in performance. In as much as a national team reflects a nation's character, however, be prepared for surprises." Matt Prodger, BBC correspondent in Belgrade.

    Our verdict: Will be difficult to beat due to resilient defence but unlikely to get past the last 16, or even into it having been drawn in one of the harder groups.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.


    Pick your Serbia & Montenegro XI
    31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Serbia and Montenegro
    23 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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