Serbia V Ghana Preview: Sunday, 13th June (Group D)

12th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

 

Serbia V Ghana

Kick-off: Sunday, 13th June – 15:00 GMT
Stadium: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Referee: Hector Baldassi (Argentina)
Group D

 

Serbia

The Serbians were mighty impressive during qualification, fending off the challenge from France – 2006 FIFA World Cup finalist – and finishing top of their group. Coach Radomir Antic guided Serbia to two defeats in ten qualifiers and has quickly helped the country establish a respect reputation for being extremely tough to beat. However, in the weeks leading up to the finals Serbia suffered a couple of poor results and didn’t record a win over France during qualifying, so are Serbia really a team ready for the big stage or has their reputation been built upon them thrashing the small guys?

The fact Serbia failed to beat France in two attempts does worry me a lot, especially as they lost 2-1 in Saint Denis. After all, France were beginning their quest to South Africa off the back of limping out of the 2008 EURO’s and were clearly not the force of old which seen them win the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and eight years later become runners-up for the first time at Germany in 2006. In retrospect, Serbia qualifying group was fairly simple, and their ability to finish top of that weak group has perhaps added to their hype of which we truly believe shouldn’t exist.

Serbia have a solid enough core, a hardened backbone which starts from the defensive duo of Ivanovic and Vidic up to their bulky forward of Nikola Zigic. Around the edges they do have some bright individuals, with the likes of Zoran Tosic, Milos Krasic and Jovanovic all looking to impress over the summer. But as a whole, collectively, we do see enough flaws to concern punters. Granted their defence has often proven to be very solid and dependable, but their forward play at times has been woeful. They rely heavily on the rangy figure of Zigic up front and it has become far too predictable for opponents; runs down the flanks, touch the byline and whip in a high cross so Zigic can stand head and shoulder above most defenders and have a free header. They do this time and time again and while Zigic is almost impossible to thwart in the air, teams with two quality full-backs could quite easily nullify Serbia’s main route to goal.

Even with our negative thoughts about Serbia, and that’s not taking anything away from what is a highly talented defence, this game is very much winnable. Ghana aren’t a whole different to Serbia in many respects in that they try their utmost to remain tight and compact at the back and build from there. A little bit of patience though, added with some persistence and tenacity and Serbia, providing they remain alert at the back, could maybe edge ahead at some point and then it should be a case of man the barricades.

 

Ghana

It was only four months ago that Ghana were competing in the final of the African Cup of Nations, losing on that occasion 1-0 to Egypt. However, there’s a weird vibe around South Africa that one of the continents other teams could spring a surprise and make some serious inroads this summer. Consider Egypt failed to book their tickets, doesn’t that automatically make Ghana Africa’s biggest hope of ending what is an 80 year baron run in FIFA World Cup’s.

Four years ago at Germany and Ghana were stunning the footballing world with their progression from a tricky group containing Czech Republic, United States and the eventual winners of the tournament, Italy. In fact, it took two of the world’s biggest footballing nations to despatch of the ‘Black Stars’ as Italy and Brazil remained the only two teams to beat Ghana at the finals, whilst victories over Czech Republic and the USA ensured Ghana’s name wouldn’t be forgotten in a hurry.

If Ghana are to follow the same route in the 2010 World Cup, victories are to be expected against Serbia and Australia before falling to the inevitable defeat against Germany. Of course, that’s merely a spooky speculation but Ghana proved four years ago that they were certainly no mugs and that if any team underestimates them, like a few did in the 2006 finals, Ghana will punish them. After all, Ghana did sail through their qualifying group, booking their plane tickets to South Africa with two games to spare.

If you haven’t already heard, Michael Essien won’t feature at all for Ghana in South Africa, as the combative Chelsea midfielder was ruled out of the finals several weeks before the grand opening. His battling presence in the middle of the park, as well as his knowledge of the most demanding league in the world – The Premier League, will be sorely missed but it’s worth mentioning that Essien barely featured for his country during the African Cup of Nations at the beginning of the year and they still made it all the way to the final. There’s no doubting how crucial Essien’s role in the team is, but Ghana have proven they can cope without their icon and will have to do so once more at South Africa.

 

Match Odds:

Serbia – 2.20 SkyBet
Draw – 3.30 Ladbrokes
Ghana – 4.00 BetFred

 

Our Prediction: Draw – 3.30 Ladbrokes

I won’t highlight the draw unless I can see no way two teams can be separated. This match falls into that category and it will probably take something special to split these two apart. What we have is two teams who work their socks off to ensure their opposite numbers don’t get any time on the ball and aren’t allowed to settle. Serbia will look to break through Ghana’s rearguard by lumping balls into the box and hoping Zigic gets on the end of them, while Ghana will do the complete opposite and will try and use the pace and energy of Matthew Amoah and Asamoah Gyan to penetrate the Serbia goal.

Our Recommended Bet: Both Teams to Score – 2.10 Bet365




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