Serbia enter this World Cup as an independent nation for the first time after nine previous tournaments as the former Yugoslavia, and one in unison with Montenegro in 2006. The team will be keen to banish memories of the last World Cup where they were thumped 6-0 by Argentina in the group stages.
A repeat of that looks unlikely, however, after finishing ahead of France during qualification with a team that includes stars such as Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic, Chelsea's Bransilav Ivanovic and Inter Milan's Dejan Stankovic. The astute leadership of manager Radomir Antic has also played a part after weaving the established players in amongst members of the under-21 team that reached the final of the 2007 European Championship.
Aim: The Serbs are quietly confident they can negotiate a tricky looking Group D and progress to the second round. Beyond that, who knows, they possess a strong defence, but do they have the goals in their side to fire them into the quarter-finals?
THREE KEY PLAYERS
NEMANJA VIDIC Serbian fans could attribute their poor showing four years ago to the fact that Vidic did not feature at all because of an injury. The Manchester United centre-back will be desperate to play a part this time particularly after an indifferent season at his club.
DEJAN STANKOVIC The talismanic captain heads into his third World Cup as a Champions League and Serie A winner with Inter Milan. The midfielder first appeared in the 1998 World Cup as a teenager but has since won trophies galore at club level with Inter and previous club Lazio.
NIKOLA ZIGIC There are few players on the world stage taller than this 6ft 8in hitman and he will be noticed even more after the World Cup after securing a move to Birmingham next season. Prolific at the start of his career with Red Star Belgrade, he struggled to make an impact at Valencia.
RADDY ANTIC Took over a month before 2010 qualification began and suffered just two losses in a campaign that saw them top their group. After a 17-year playing career in Yugoslavia, Turkey, Spain and an illustrious spell at Luton, his coaching CV includes Partizan Belgrade, Real Madrid and Barcelona. He won a historic domestic double in 1995/6 during one of his three stints at Atletico Madrid.
ADOPT THEM BECAUSE...
If Serbian coach Radomir Antic hadn't scored the goal against Man City that saved Luton from relegation in 1983, the British public wouldn't have been treated to the sight of Hatters boss David Pleat galloping across Maine Road in a beige suit.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Serbia's World Cup qualifying highlights
W 2-0 Faroe Islands (H) L 2-1 France (A) W 3-0 Lithuania (H) W 3-1 Austria (A) W 3-2 Romania (A) W 1-0 Austria (H) W 2-0 Faroe Islands (A) D 1-1 France (H) W 5-0 Romania (H) L 2-1 Lithuania (A) Finished top, ahead of France
WORLD CUP BEST
This is the first World Cup Serbia have featured in. The former Yugoslavia finished fourth in 1930 and 1962.
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