SERBIA V GHANA PREVIEW
Date : Sunday, 13 June 2010
Kick-off : 15:00 BST
Coverage : ITV and BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary and video highlights on this website TEAM NEWS
Serbia's Nemanja Vidic is expected to be fit after missing the friendlies against Poland and Cameroon with an upset stomach and a high temperature.
Coach Radomir Antic's squad is free from any other injuries and he will pick his first choice XI.
Ghana's Sulley Muntari has recovered from a thigh strain which ruled him out of their final warm-up match with Latvia. Stephen Appiah, who has played just two club matches in two and a half years, will captain the side. MATCH PREVIEW
The popular prediction that Serbia might be this World Cup's dark horses was made to look a little premature after they stuttered through their warm-up matches. An awful 1-0 defeat to New Zealand was the nadir, but they hardly impressed in a draw with Poland and a 4-3 win over Cameroon.
This is their first World Cup competing as an single nation after nine World Cups as Yugoslavia and one in 2006 as Serbia and Montenegro. Their experience in Germany four years ago is one they would like to forget as they lost all three matches and were humbled 6-0 by Argentina. It's almost impossible to imagine that happening again with Nemanja Vidic and Branislav Ivanovic in their back four.
Ghana reached the second round on their World Cup debut in 2006 and, given how tough Group D looks on paper, they would probably settle for a repeat of that right now. In many ways this World Cup may be coming four years too early for the Black Stars. Their squad is packed with some phenomenally-talented youngsters plucked from the side that won the Under-20 World Cup in October. Given more time to develop at their clubs in Europe's elite leagues, and they could make Ghana a serious force in Brazil in 2014.
That's not to say they shouldn't be feared here. Michael Essien is missing, but with the experienced trio of Stephen Appiah, John Mensah and Sulley Muntari free from injury woe, Milovan Rajevac's side may yet prove to be a shrewder tip as dark horses than Serbia. MATCH FACTS Head-to-head
- This is only the second time the sides have met. Their only previous encounter was in 1997 when the former Yugoslavia beat Ghana 3-1 in the Korea Cup. Serbia
- Serbia have lost their last four matches at the World Cup. They lost all three of their matches at the 2006 World Cup (as Serbia and Montenegro) and lost to the Netherlands (as Yugoslavia) in 1998, Their last victory at a World Cup came when they beat USA 1-0 in '98.
- Serbia scored seven goals from corners during qualifying, at least two more than any other side in European qualifying. Ghana
- Ghana have never drawn a World Cup match having won two and lost two of their four games at the their only previous World Cup appearance in 2006.
- Milovan Rajevic is the second Serbian coach to lead a team against his home nation. Blagoje Vidinic was in charge of Zaire when they were thrashed 9-0 by Yugoslavia in 1974.
- Only Burkina Faso (who failed to score), had a lower shots-to-goals ratio than Ghana at this year's Africa Cup of Nations, even though they reached the final. MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee : Hector Baldassi (Argentina)
Assistants : Ricardo Casas (Argentina) and Hernan Maidana (Argentina)
Fourth official : Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh (Malaysia)
Serbia http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/groups_and_teams/team/serbia#squad v http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/groups_and_teams/team/ghana#squad Ghana http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/groups_and_teams/team/serbia#squad 15:00 BST http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/groups_and_teams/team/ghana#squad