BBC Sport world-cup-2010


Australia 2-1 Serbia

By Sam Lyon
  1. 18:35 Commentary  

    So England have done their bit and reached the last 16 - now our attention turns to who will face them on Sunday. Any two of Ghana, Germany, Serbia and Australia can qualify from Group D, and any of the first three are possible second round opponents for Don Fabio's men. This World Cup just got serious.

  2. 18:39 Commentary  

    A reminder for those of you whose bosses were far too Ebeneezer Scrooge to let you watch/monitor the England game this afternoon - England beat Slovenia 1-0, but finished only second in Group C thanks to a last-gasp Landon Donovan winner that saw the United States top the group with victory over Algeria. England now face the winners of Group D on Sunday in Bloemfontain - and that means Ghana, Germany and Serbia. Tricky.

  3. 18:44 Commentary  

    I'm Sam Lyon and I'll be your host for the climax of Group D proceedings this evening - but I don't want to do it alone, folks. You know the ways and means by now, but just in case - text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), Tweet me @sampatricklyon or join in on 606. This is your moment of glory.

  4. 18:47 Commentary Ghana v Germany teams  

    Ghana: 22-Richard Kingson; 4-John Pantsil, 8-Jonathan Mensah, 5-John Mensah, 2-Hans Sarpei; 6-Anthony Annan, 23-Kevin-Prince Boateng, 13-Dede Ayew, 12-Prince Tagoe; 21-Kwadwo Asamoah, 3-Asamoah Gyan.
    Germany: 1-Manuel Neuer; 16-Philipp Lahm, 3-Arne Friedrich, 17-Per Mertesacker, 20-Jerome Boateng, 13-Thomas Mueller, 6-Sami Khedira, 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 10-Lukas Podolski, 8-Mesut Ozil, 19-Cacau.
    Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil)

  5. 18:48 Commentary Australia v Serbia teams  

    Australia: 1-Mark Schwarzer; 2-Lucas Neill, 6-Michael Beauchamp, 4-Tim Cahill, 9-Josh Kennedy, 8-Luke Wilkshire, 23-Mark Bresciano, 5-Jason Culina, 16-Carl Valeri, 7-Brett Emerton, 21-David Carney.
    Serbia: 1-Vladimir Stojkovic; 6-Branislav Ivanovic, 5-Nemanja Vidic, 13-Aleksandar Lukovic, 17-Milos Krasic, 10-Dejan Stankovic, 16-Ivan Obradovic, 22-Zdravko Kuzmanovic, 18-Milos Ninkovic, 14-Milan Jovanovic, 15-Nikola Zigic.
    Referee: Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay)

  6. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Nelspruit  

    On Twitter: "Hmm, I'm watching the Serbs warm-up. Big units. Reckon you need to be fully up for playing them or simply don't bother."

  7. Twitter  

    nanaloa2001: "Australia to beat Serbia by one goal so my beloved Ghana can qualify irrespective of our result against Germany."

  8. 18:55 Commentary  

    So, here are the Group D repercussions people. Ghana and Germany will advance if they draw and Serbia draw with Australia. If Germany, Ghana or Serbia win, they go through. Serbia will qualify with a draw if Germany beat Ghana by more than one goal or if Ghana wins. Australia need to beat Serbia and hope Ghana beat Germany OR win heavily and hope the other game ends in a draw. Simples. *cough*.

  9. SMS  

    From Mr.Gee: "Ghana scored only twice in this competition and both of them were penalties. It's not enough to get through to the second round is it?"

  10. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "Germany have never failed to successfully negotiate the (first) group phase at a World Cup, and their huge volume of fans inside Soccer City do not expect that to change. There's a World Cup record as brothers face each other for the first time - the Boateng brothers, Kevin-Prince for Ghana and Jerome for Germany. After his FA Cup final challenge ruled Germany captain Michael Ballack out of the tournament, Kevin-Prince's named is roundly booed."

  11. 19:00 Commentary Ghana v Germany team news  

    Germany manager Joachim Loew opts to use Brazil-born Cacau as a lone striker because Miroslav Klose is suspended. Jerome Boateng makes his World Cup debut at left-back in place of Holger Badstuber, which means the new Manchester City signing will line up against half-brother Kevin-Prince, who is named in Ghana's starting XI. Ghana boss Milovan Rajevac makes just one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Australia, recalling defender John Mensah, who has recovered from injury, in place of Lee Addy.

  12. 19:02 Commentary Australia v Serbia team news  

    Australia boss Pim Verbeek recalls Tim Cahill, who returns from a one-match suspension, with the Everton midfielder set to play just behind striker Josh Kennedy, who replaces Brett Holman up front. Meanwhile, defender Michael Beauchamp makes his World Cup debut because veteran Craig Moore is suspended. Serbia manager Radomir Antic Antic has dropped left-back Aleksandar Kolarov, bringing in Ivan Obradovic while Aleksandar Lukovic replaces Neven Subotic at the heart of defence.

  13. Twitter  

    From thomavenel: "Ghana to draw against Germany, and Serbia to beat Australia. That's Germany out and relief for England."

  14. 19:10 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Stats you say? You want some stats? Impress your mates with these bad boys... Australia, on a run of five World Cup matches without a win, are looking to reach the knock-out phase for the second consecutive time after being knocked out by Italy in 2006. Serbia are looking to survive the group phase despite losing the first game - something Yugoslavia achied in 1962 and 1990.

  15. 19:13 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    And in the other game? Well Germany and Ghana have met just once before - the Germans running out 6-1 winners. Ghana, the only African nation to reach the knock-out phases in 2006, have been awarded four penalties in their six World Cup matches, scoring three. Germany, on the back of their first defeat in the World Cup group stages since 1986, are looking to become the first team to win the World Cup despite losing a group match since Argentina in 1978.

  16. Twitter  

    From afcmp: "With Ghana now the only African team with a realistic chance to go through, surely it's time to get behind the Black Stars."

  17. Commentary Germany coach Joachim Loew  

    "Ghana is possibly Africa's last chance in the tournament and will be very motivated. It's not going to be a piece of cake, but we are confident that we have what it takes to beat Ghana."

  18. Commentary Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac  

    "We are happy to be in this position. It also means it is an obligation for us if we have to advance to the next stage, but it does not add any pressure. But we have a real chance and there is a strong sense of belief in this team."

  19. Commentary Australia coach Pim Verbeek  

    "This team has the drive to perform and the drive to go to the next round. We have a great team and a great spirit. The players put pressure on themselves because they are here to win and that is what we will do."

  20. Commentary Serbia coach Radomir Antic  

    "We know that we have an opportunity of historical significance and we will try to do our best. I would not like to put any additional pressure on my boys by saying they have to, but when I say I believe in my team, I say it quite truthfully."

  21. Twitter  

    From elvis_bimmer: "Do you think the Serbs are hoping to finish second and play the US in the second round? Bit a grudge match that would be, don't you think?"

  22. 19:25 Commentary  

    Right, national anthem time in Nelspruit and Johannesburg. Five minutes until kick-off. I wonder if the England boys are watching?

  23. 19:27 Commentary  

    By the way, the coaches sound confident below don't they? Do you reckon they read these pre-match quotes off a colour-by-numbers scriptsheet? Love it.

  24. 19:30 KICK-OFF Ghana v Germany  

    Ghana - needing only a draw - get us under way at Soccer City against a German side targeting victory.

  25. 19:30 KICK-OFF  

    And Australia and Serbia are started in Nelspruit, with both desperate for all three points. Man it's tense.

  26. 19:32 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Positive start from Ghana in Johannesburg, the African outfit showing few signs of sitting back and playing for the point they need to reach the last 16. Germany get the first decent shot on goal, though, Cacau stinging Richard Kingson's palms from wide on the right.

  27. 19:34 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    It's nice and open in Nelspruit, too, where Serbia's right-sided midfielder Milos Krasic is picking up where he left off against Germany last time out with a couple of threatening runs down the Australia left.

  28. 19:35 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    It is Milos Krasic with the first shot on target at Nelspruit, the Serbian midfielder forcing Mark Schwarzer into a smart save at his near post, the Australia keeper pushing a fierce effort round his post following a decent run by Krasic.

  29. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher in Nelspruit  

    "A few bits of the green and gold inside the stadium and one smallish chunk of Serbia supporters - but I can see far too much of the distinctive black and white seating here in Nelspruit that brings a zebra very much to mind. The last World Cup game here. What are they going to do with this ground afterwards?"

  30. 19:40 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Germany happy to build patiently on the ball at Soccer City, and at the end of one such move Jonathan Mensah deflects a Lukas Podolski cross goalwards, forcing Ghana keeper Richard Kingson into a fabulous stop.

  31. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's John Murray Ghana v Germany  

    "A great deal has been written in the German press about Kevin-Prince Boateng's tackle on Germany's Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final, which led to the midfielder missing the World Cup because of the injury sustained. It'll be interesting to see how Boateng is treated tonight. So far, it's not too bad..."

  32. 19:43 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    It's another chance for Serbia and another for Milos Krasic. Again it goes begging. The midfielder should do so much better after being sent clear by Milos Ninkovic, but having rounded the keeper he slaps his shot high, wide and not very handsome. Poor.

  33. 19:44 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    And moments later in Johannesburg and Ghana forge a fine opening of their own. Asamoah Gyan has the whole goal to aim at 16 yards out from a neat Kwadwo Asamoah cut-back but his effort is blocked when he should really have beaten the defender's outstretched leg.

  34. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "Germany are trying to get Serbia out of their system early doors here by putting Ghana under pressure, but they do look susceptible to the counter. They obviously want to win the game and group and face England, but they're in a real contest here. One thought - Bastian Schweinsteiger, on a yellow card, is such a crucial presence for them. He'd better be careful."

  35. 19:47 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Serbia definitely on top in Nelspruit, where Australia are hanging on a touch in the face of the eastern Europeans pace and power up front. Will a lack of cutting edge cost Radomir Antic's side though?

  36. 19:48 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Hhmm - Tim Cahill goes down clutching his face after an Australia free-kick is launched into the box, and replays suggest Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic caught him rather flush in the face with a flailing arm. Not seen by the officials, though.

  37. 19:51 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Germany captain Phillip Lahm bursts through the Ghanaian defence and has the unmarked Cacau screaming for a square pass into the box at the end of it, but the full-back dallies too long and the chance goes. Nice and open here, nice and open.

  38. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Danny Mills Ghana v Germany  

    "It was a case of a full-back getting a nosebleed when Lahm made that burst into the area."

  39. 19:53 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    That is a ker-racking save, I tell you. Branislav Ivanovic bursts into the Australia area from deep, chests the ball down and slams goalwards from the angle, only for Mark Schwarzer to stick out a hand and somehow keep the ball out of his goal. Brilliant. Serbia continuing to press.

  40. 19:54 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    A chance at both ends at Soccer City. Asamoah Gyan's touch is too heavy as he bears down on goal and what looks like a clear opening for Ghana goes awry. Germany burst and Mesut Ozil is clear - but his shot one-on-one is saved by Richard Kingson. Frantic.

  41. 19:56 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    A goal has to be imminent, surely? Asamoah Gyan - again - has a chance, flicking a header goalwards from a corner but it is cleared off the line on the post by a Germany defender.

  42. Twitter  

    From junebob: "The number of virtually unmissable opportunities that have been squandered in this WC is amazing."

  43. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher in Nelspruit  

    "Serbia are cutting Australia to pieces here with what must be alarming regularity for the green and gold. Milos Krasic has been superb for the Serbs, but Socceroos keeper Mark Schwarzer is proving to be a tricky man to beat."

  44. 20:01 Commentary GROUP D - AS IT STANDS  

    Half an hour gone in both games and a gentle reminder that if it stays as it is then Ghana will go through as winners (to face England) and Germany will edge out Serbia for second (and play USA). A goal in either game changes everything, though, and bearing in mind the chances that are being created...

  45. 20:04 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Serbia's Birmingham new-boy Nikola Zigic should just have broken the deadlock in Nelspruit, but instead he has sent a header - unmarked and six yards out - wide from Branislav Ivanovic's cross. The profligacy continues.

  46. 20:06 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Sami Khedira rises above the Ghana defence to meet Bastian Schweinsteiger's corner, but he can only send his header over. How are both these games still 0-0?

  47. 20:08 OFFSIDE Australia v Serbia  

    Milos Krasic thinks he has opened the scoring in Nelspruit, but despite a fine finish from Milan Jovanovic's pass the 'goal' is correctly ruled out for offside. Just. Australia living dangerously.

  48. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "It might be goalless, but it's certainly not dull - they've had enough chances between them to be 3-3 now. I wouldn't say the Germans around me are worried, but they are perhaps not quite as super-confident of victory and topping the group as they were before kick-off."

  49. 20:10 YELLOW CARD Ghana v Germany  

    Ghana's Andre Ayew goes into the book for what the referee deems a lunge at Cacau.

  50. 20:12 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Bastian Schweinsteiger rips in a lovely free-kick for Germany and as it drifts inches over Per Mertesacker's head at the far post, Richard Kingson gets down well to push the ball away from goal.

  51. 20:14 YELLOW CARD Ghana v Germany  

    Germany's Thomas Mueller is the next man to be yellow carded for a lunge similar to Andre Ayew's earlier, on John Mensah.

  52. 20:15 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Brett Emerton sends a whipped cross into the Serbia box but Australia frontman Joshua Kennedy cannot get anywhere near enough power on his header and the keeper has an easy save.

  53. 20:16 HALF-TIME Ghana 0-0 Germany  

    Yep, I don't know how it's still 0-0 either.

  54. 20:16 HALF-TIME Australia 0-0 Serbia  

    Erm, see my previous entry. Same here.

  55. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Danny Mills Ghana v Germany  

    "The Germans have controlled the game - they've looked very efficient. But the best thing that could happen is for Ghana to score."

  56. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher in Nelspruit  

    "If I was Australian I would consider myself rather fortunate to be on level terms. By the way, the Mexican wave came out shortly before the break. Never a good sign."

  57. 20:22 Commentary  

    By the way, if you think the football is tense - spare a thought for John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon. The pair have been going at it for more than nine(!) hours and it is 53-53 in the fifth and final set. Seriously. Surely it's time for rock-paper-scissors and be done with it?

  58. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "Stalemate at the break, which is better news for Ghana than it is Germany as they only need a draw. Joachim Loew's team have looked lively in bursts, but they remain a Serbia goal away from exiting at the first group stage for the first time. Safe to say the Ghanaians are enjoying their interval a touch more. No Mexican waves here (yet)."

  59. 20:31 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Back under way at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.

  60. 20:31 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    And also in the match in Nelspruit.

  61. 20:33 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Germany are first among the chances in Johannesburg - if you can call it a chance - but Lukas Podolski skews his long-range effort into the crowd.

  62. 20:36 YELLOW CARD Australia v Serbia  

    Excellent bit of trickery down the Serbian left from Milos Ninkovic and he is cynically scythed down by Luke Wilkshire - that's a booking, son.

  63. 20:37 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Asamoah Gyan releases Kwadwo Asamoah and the Ghanaian is one-on-one - he can't find the finish, though, and Germany keeper Manuel Neuer stays big to beat his shot away. Will Ghana live to regret these missed chances?

  64. 20:39 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Talking of wasteful finishing... Serbia pick up the baton and it's Nikola Zigic again, the frontman taking a touch in the area before sending the ball into orbit over the Australia bar.

  65. 20:43 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Half a chance for Cacau in the Ghana box from Mesut Ozil's cross, but the Brazilian-born Germany striker gets the ball caught in his feet and it is cleared. Both sides still very much giving it a go in Johannesburg. Will Ghana sit back on a draw at any stage I wonder?

  66. 20:45 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Serbia keeper Vladimir Stojkovic is forced into action in Nelspruit as he beats Tim Cahill's shot past the post.

  67. 20:46 GOAL Ghana 0-1 Germany  

    Well, perhaps it was always going to need something special to break the deadlock - and Mesut Ozil, with a delicious, dipping left-foot shot from the edge of the area provides it, the ball flying into the net - advantage Germany.

  68. 20:48 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Ghana almost level immediately, but Prince Tagoe's header at the far post ricochets off Jerome Boateng's leg and behind for a corner.

  69. Twitter  

    From 337ee: "Typical. Germany score just as I tweet that the Ghana central defenders have been immensah... sorry."

  70. 20:49 Commentary GROUP D - AS IT STANDS  

    Germany's goal means they now top the group as it stands (and are in line to face England), but Ghana still edge second spot (and a last 16 tie with USA) from Serbia on goals scored.

  71. 20:50 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Drilled effort from Marco Bresciano, good save by Vladimir Stojkovic. More ambition being shown by Australia in this half.

  72. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "There was something so predictably German about that goal - they had been building up pressure for most of the second half and suddenly Mesut Ozil, quiet until now, bursts into life with a screamer. You don't need me to tell you that as it stands, Germany will face England in the last 16. It's gone ever so noisy around me."

  73. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher in Nelspruit  

    "I'm going to try to kick start this game into life by suggesting that although Australia have improved since the break, the match has deteriorated as a contest."

  74. 20:53 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Andre Ayew goes for goal on the edge of his area but his shot is well blocked by last German defender Phillip Lahm.

  75. 20:54 GOAL Australia 1-0 Serbia  

    Would you Adam (and Eve) it? Tim Cahill - as Tim Cahill does - gets up to plant a stunning header into the corner from a deep right-wing cross and the Socceroos have gone absolutely ballistic. Big.

  76. 20:58 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Serbia throwing numbers forward now and who can blame them. Zoran Tosic thinks he has a golden opportunity to level from Zdravko Kuzmanovic's cross, but Lucas Neill is across to force the ball behind.

  77. 20:59 GOAL Australia 2-0 Serbia  

    Blimey. If Australia are going out, they're going out fighting. There appears little danger when AZ Alkmaar's Brett Holman collects the ball 25 yards from goal, but the forward slams an unstoppable effort into the corner to stun the Serbian fans into even deeper silence. Australia couldn't keep going and force qualification... could they...?

  78. 21:01 Commentary GROUP D - AS IT STANDS  

    Germany are still going through as winners and Ghana will beat Australia to second spot on goal difference. The Socceroos need a two-goal swing - or Ghana to score twice - to progress. Serbia's hopes are looking done and dusted.

  79. 21:03 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Over at Soccer City in Johannesburg, and Ghana - for the first time - are looking decidedly like they've had the stuffing knocked out of them by that Mesut Ozil goal. In fact, if anyone looks like scoring the match's second goal, it's Germany...

  80. 21:05 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Better from Ghana as Kevin-Prince Boateng and Andre Ayew link up around the Germany box before the latter's cross is half blocked. The ball falls to Anthony Annan, but the midfielder's long-ranger is held by Manuel Neuer in the Germany goal.

  81. 21@08 Commentary Ghana v Germany  

    Striker Matthew Amoah is brought on for Ghana as they seek the equaliser that would guarantee them a place in the last 16 - remember if the Africans can equalise they, and not Germany, would be England's opponents in the last 16.

  82. 21:10 GOAL Australia 2-1 Serbia  

    Game back on. Zoran Tosic pings in a shot from range and Mark Schwarzer makes a rare error, spilling the effort and allowing Marko Pantelic to steal in and tap in the rebound.

  83. 21:12 OFFSIDE Australia v Serbia  

    My word. Marko Pantelic slides in what looks an equalising goal - only for the linesman's flag to rule it out for offside. It was close, but I reckon the official got that just about right.

  84. 21:13 Commentary GROUP D - AS IT STANDS  

    Germany will win the group and play England, Ghana will finish second and face USA. HOWEVER... another goal for Serbia would see them go through in second on goals scored. Unbelievably tight.

  85. 21:16 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Serbia are convinced they should have a penalty when Nemanja Vidic's header strikes Tim Cahill's arm in the box - but the Australian had his back to the ball and can't possibly have meant it. Good decision.

  86. 21:17 INJURY TIME Ghana v Germany  

    We'll have three minutes of injury time - and barring late, late drama it'll be these two in the last 16 from Group D.

  87. 21:19 Commentary Australia v Serbia  

    Unbelievable. Marko Pantelic has a place in the last 16 within his grasp as Zoran Tosic lays him in in front of goal six yards out - but he spoons his effort over. Terrible miss, and that's Serbia's hopes of progressing done, surely.

  88. 21:20 FULL-TIME Ghana 0-1 Germany  

    It's all over in Johannesburg - and Germany get the win they needed to top Group D and set up a last-16 match against England. Ghana, however, must wait a little longer to see if they are through...

  89. 21:21 FULL-TIME Australia 2-1 Serbia  

    ...and Ghana do join Germany in the second round, as Serbia's late flurry proves too little, too late. Australia hold on to a fine face-saving victory to leave Serbia bottom of Group D as a result. Whodda thunked it?

  90. 21:24 Commentary  

    Tonight's result, by the way, means that one of the United States, Uruguay, South Korea or Ghana are guaranteed to be semi-finalists. That's what it would have meant to England had they won the group. Ho hum.

  91. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "There were some horribly nervous moments for the Ghanaians after the final whistle as they waited for news to filter through from Nelspruit, but the stadium announcer gets the biggest cheer of the day with 'Australia 2-1 Serbia'. We've got two very, very, very happy sets of supporters on our hands at Soccer City. It's party time."

  92. 21:28 Commentary  

    Serbia, meanwhile, become only the second country after Algeria in 1982 to be knocked out in the Group Stage despite beating (West) Germany.

  93. 21:30 Commentary  

    Tonight's two matches, by the way, yielded 70 shots on goal. I know. My fingertips are a bloody mess and my keyboard beaten down to a slim plastic shell. Still - what a couple of entertaining clashes. Keep it coming World Cup 2010, keep it coming.

  94. SMS  

    From Michael: "Ghana has made Africa proud."

  95. Twitter  

    From PETERM86: "Yes Germany! Now need to beat England on Sunday :) Klose will be back for Germany too!"

  96. 21:40 Commentary  

    Well I think you'll all agree that today has been - immense. England through, but pipped to top spot in Group C by the United States. Germany get the win they need to ensure they face Don Fabio's men in Bloemfontain on Sunday afternoon, with Ghana grateful to Australia for their passage into the second round despite a losing finale to the group stages. I don't know about you, but I need a good sit down.

  97. Twitter  

    BBC sports news correspondent James Pearce: "Scary stat for England: The last time Germany got knocked out of World Cup Finals before the quarter-finals was 1938."

  98. SMS  

    From Stefan: "I, for one, welcome the opportunity to hear "England 5 Germany 1" all over the radio... again."

  99. 21:50 Commentary  

    So that's it from me, Sam Lyon, make sure you're back tomorrow for the conclusion to Group E - Paraguay v New Zealand and Slovakia v Italy - while I'll return to talk you through the late games again with Denmark v Japan and Cameroon v the Netherlands in Group F. If the drama at all resembles today's, it'll be more epic than a face-off on Court 18. See you then.

By Paul Fletcher, Nelspruit

Australia produced a rousing second-half display to knock Serbia out of the World Cup - but it was not quite enough for the Socceroos to sensationally earn a place in the round of 16.

A Tim Cahill header and a searing long-range strike from substitute Brett Holman ensured that at one point Pim Verbeek's side were two goals away from snatching second place in Group D.

However, that berth was ultimately claimed by Ghana, who lost 1-0 to Germany to finish level on Australia with four points but who go through by virtue of their superior goal difference.

As the clock ticked down it seemed as though the momentum of the contest had swung firmly in the favour of the green and gold but their hopes of emulating their exploits in 2006 by progressing from their group were effectively ended when substitute Marko Pantelic pulled a goal back for Serbia after 84 minutes.

In the end it was a disappointing night for both sides, with the Socceroos left to rue the damage done to their campaign by the 4-0 thrashing they sustained in their opening game against Germany.

And in many ways it was even more agonising for Serbia, who finished the match one goal away from snatching second place away from Ghana.

A draw would have taken Serbia on to four points and above Ghana on goals scored.

That almost happened in the dying seconds of what ended up as an absorbing end-to-end contest but Pantelic smashed a cross from the right wide of the target.

Many people had tipped Serbia to be a surprise package in the tournament - a school of thought given further weight after they defeated Germany in their second game.

And in the first half at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit there seemed little doubt that they would win the contest after producing a performance of attacking intent against an off-colour Australia.

Milos Krasic operated on the right flank, directly in front of the bulk of the Australia supporters during an opening 45 minutes that saw them boo him every time he touched the ball.

They were incensed by what they thought was a blatant attempt to win an early penalty after the CSKA Moscow player went down in the Socceroos area as he tussled with Carl Valeri.

But it had little impact on Krasic's performance as Serbia, with swift, precise passing, kept their dogged opponents on the back foot.

Mark Schwarzer was clearly Australia's best player as he palmed an early Krasic strike around the post and made a sensational one-handed save to thwart Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Raddy Antic's side occasionally had only themselves to blame for not taking the lead, as Krasic really should have found the net after collecting an inch-perfect threaded pass from Zdravko Kuzmanovic and rounding Schwarzer, but he shot over.

Australia, with their tall target man Josh Kennedy a peripheral figure, created precious little in the opening half; Cahill, returning after suspension, headed wide while Kennedy at least drew a save from Vladimir Stojkovic with a weak effort.

It looked as though Verbeek's tenure as Australia boss was going to end tamely but his side showed great spirit after the interval, even if opportunities initially remained at a premium.

Jason Culina shot wide from long range, while Marco Bresciano drew two saves from Stojkovic, the second of them a rasping effort from 20 yards.

However, the complexion of the contest changed irreversibly when Cahill brilliantly headed Australia in front from a right-wing cross.

Germany had taken the lead against Ghana by that stage - and when Holman's sensational long-range strike defeated Stojkovic the atmosphere generated by the considerable Australia following was sensational.

Serbia, who failed to reproduce their first-half form, pulled a goal back through Pantelic after a rare error from Schwarzer, who spilled a long-range strike from Zoran Tosic.

Antic's team wanted a penalty for a handball against Cahill but they only had themselves to blame for failing to score a second when Pantelic missed.

Australia Australia Flag 2-1 Serbia Flag Serbia FT

(HT 0-0)

Cahill, 69
Holman, 73
Pantelic, 84






  • Venue: Mbombela Stadium
  • Referee: J Larrionda
  • Attendance: 38,836
Australia     Serbia
  • Possession 50%
  • Attempts on target 8
  • Attempts off target 4
  • Corners 5
  • Fouls 21

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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