|Dragoslav Jevric||Goalkeeper||Ankaraspor (Turkey)|
|Oliver Kovacevic||Goalkeeper||CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria)|
|Vladimir Stojkovic||Goalkeeper||Nantes (France)|
|Dusan Basta||Defender||Red Star Belgrade|
|Nenad Djordjevic||Defender||Partizan Belgrade|
|Ivica Dragutinovic||Defender||Sevilla (Spain)|
|Milan Dudic||Defender||Red Star Belgrade|
|Goran Gavrancic||Defender||Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)|
|Mladen Krstajic||Defender||Schalke 04 (Germany)|
|Dusan Petkovic||Defender||OFK Belgrade|
|Nemanja Vidic||Defender||Manchester United (England)|
|Predrag Djordjevic||Midfielder||Olympiakos (Greece)|
|Igor Duljaj||Midfielder||Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)|
|Ivan Ergic||Midfielder||FC Basel (Switzerland)|
|Ognjen Koroman||Midfielder||Portsmouth (England)|
|Sasa Ilic||Midfielder||Galatasaray (Turkey)|
|Albert Nadj||Midfielder||Partizan Belgrade|
|Dejan Stankovic||Midfielder||Inter Milan (Italy)|
|Zvonimir Vukic||Midfielder||Partizan Belgrade|
|Mateja Kezman||Forward||Atletico Madrid (Spain)|
|Danijel Ljuboja||Forward||VFB Stuttgart (Germany)|
|Savo Milosevic||Forward||Osasuna (Spain)|
|Nikola Zigic||Forward||Red Star Belgrade|
|Head Coach:||Ilija Petkovic|
Style of play: Coach Ilija Petkovic uses a traditional 4-4-2 formation with a flat back four defence, two creative midfielders in the centre and two wide players who run up and down the flanks in support of the two strikers. The foundation of the team is defensive stability. Centre fullbacks Mladen Krstajic and Nemanja Vidic marshal a stingy defence that only conceded one goal in ten games in the qualifiers. The four-man midfield is shaped in a diamond pattern which is one of the reasons why Serbia is so tough to break down. Igor Duljaj is the defensive linchpin who acts a shield in front of the back four, while Nenad Djordjevic plays further forward in the middle as the side's chief playmaker. Dejan Stankovic and Predrag Djordjevic play on the left and right side and in between Duljaj and Djordjevic, but often drift in towards the middle in search of open space to exploit. Up front, Nikola Zigic acts as the classic target man with his height and likes ball played to him in the air. Mateja Kezman, on the other hand, is a dangerous speedster and needs the ball played low and in front of him.
Probable starting formation (4-4-2): (GK) Dragoslav Jevric - (D) Goran Gavrancic, Mladen Krstajic, Nemanja Vidic, Ivica Dragutinovic - (M) Predrag Djordjevic, Dejan Stankovic, Igor Duljaj, Nenad Djordjevic - (F) Nikola Zigic, Mateja Kezman
Defence - Serbia doesn't boast star defenders with big reputations, but it does have an air-tight defence. The Serbs conceded a single goal in 10 qualifying games, a major reason why they won their group ahead of Spain. Serbia's back four are hard to break down: they play a simple but efficient defensive system that is difficult for opposing strikers to penetrate.
Forward depth - Serbia has plenty of dangerous forwards at its disposal. Mateja Kezman and Savo Milosevic, who both play in Spain, have loads of international experience and carry the majority of the goal-scoring burden for their country with aplomb. Should one of them hit a rough patch of form, the always dangerous Nikola Zigic can easily fill in.
Goalkeeping - In Dragoslav Jevric, Serbia has one of the most reliable - and unheralded - goalkeepers in European soccer. Not flashy by any means, Jevric is, nonetheless, a steady custodian between the posts and offers an intimidating last line of defence behind Serbia's stingy back four.
Cautious approach - Coach Ilija Petkovic uses a traditional 4-4-2 formation and preaches a cautious and conservative game plan at all times. Rarely will you see the fullbacks move forward in attack as players are discouraged from taking chances. Petkovic's 'safety-first' philosophy could be Serbia's undoing, especially if they hope to beat Argentina and the Netherlands.
Lack of creativity in midfield - Inter Milan star Dejan Stankovic is the lone creative playmaker in midfield for Serbia. Predrag Djordjevic, at 33 years old, is a shell of his former self, having lost a considerable amount of speed and power the last few seasons. If teams can mark Stankovic out of the game, Serbia's attack will instantly sputter.
The Group of Death - The draw was not kind to Serbia and it will have to battle for every point it earns. Argentina and the Netherlands have to be considered favourites ahead of the Serbs, while the Ivory Coast is an emerging African soccer power that should not be taken lightly.
Players to watch:
Mateja Kezman - Serbia and Montenegro's main goal-scoring threat. After a less-than-stellar season at English club Chelsea, Kezman has revitalized his career this past year in Spain with Atletico Madrid. A hardworking forward and a deadly finisher, he's a key player in Serbia's setup, scoring five goals in the qualifiers.
Dejan Stankovic - A star with Italian club Inter Milan, Stankovic is an elegant midfielder who can pry open defences with his sublime passes and direct penetrating runs. Stankovic helps to pull the playmaking strings for Serbia in midfield, creating chances for his teammates and scoring the odd goal with his accurate shot. A talented player who is vital to his country.
Nemanja Vidic - The 25-year-old Manchester United player has quickly established himself as one of the best centre fullbacks in soccer. Vidic is the unquestioned leader of a very tight Serbian defence, winning plaudits for his outstanding positioning, astute reading of the game and aerial ability.
Injuries/omissions: Coach Ilija Petkovic surprised many pundits when he selected midfielder Ivan Ergic, who has yet to play for the national team. Striker Mirko Vucinic was originally named to the team but withdrew because of a knee injury. Coach Petkovic decided to select another defender and called up his son Dusan Petkovic to replace the injured striker. Centre fullback Nemanja Vidic will sit out Serbia's opening Group C match against the Netherlands due to suspension. Midfielder Zvonimir Vukic is suffering from a foot injury.
Prognosis: There's no question Serbia and Montenegro finds itself in tough in Group C against the likes of Argentina, the Netherlands and the Ivory Coast. A lot of pundits don't seem to think they stand much of a chance of advancing to the second round, but Serbia should not be so easily discounted. The Serbs could just prove to be the dark horse of the tournament. They boast a rock solid defence and plenty of team spirit, both of which they capitalized on to win their qualifying group ahead of Spain. Serbia has plenty of talented players and is more than capable of upsetting the Argentines and the Dutch. If they can win one of those games, they'll be in a good position to advance to the round of 16 and from there anything can happen. Don't be surprised if Serbia makes it the quarter-finals or even the final four. Watch out for this team, they may surprise you.
Road to the World Cup
Current FIFA Ranking: #46
1st round matches:
June 11 vs. Netherlands in Leipzig
June 16 vs. Argentina in Gelsenkirchen
June 21 vs. Ivory Coast in Munich
2006 qualification route: Finished in first place second in Europe's
Group 7 (22 points) ahead of Spain (20 points).
Qualifying record: 10 games played, 6 wins, 4 draws, 0 losses
Goals for: 16 Goals against: 1
Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Mateja Kezman (5)
Qualifying results: (home team listed first)
Sept. 4, 2004 - San Marino 0, Serbia and Montenegro 3
Oct. 9, 2004 - Bosnia-Herzegovina 0, Serbia and Montenegro 0
Oct. 13, 2004 - Serbia and Montenegro 5, San Marino 0
Nov. 17, 2004 - Belgium 0, Serbia and Montenegro2
March 30, 2005 - Serbia and Montenegro 0, Spain 0
June 4, 2005 - Serbia and Montenegro 0, Belgium 0
Sept. 3, 2005 - Serbia and Montenegro 2, Lithuania 0
Sept. 7, 2005 - Spain 1, Serbia and Montenegro 1
Oct. 8, 2005 - Lithuania 0, Serbia and Montenegro 2
Oct. 12, 2005 - Serbia and Montenegro 1, Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
World Cup History
FIFA member since: 1919
All-time caps leader: Savo Milosevic (90)
All-time leading scorer: Savo Milosevic (35 goals)
World Cup History:
From 1930 to 1990, Yugoslavia was a regular participant at the World Cup. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed in 1992 but because of the international sanctions due to the Yugoslav wars, the country was banned from the 1994 World Cup qualifiers.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia advanced to the second round of the 1998 World Cup, but did not qualify for the 2002 tournament
In 2003, the name of the country changed to Serbia and Montenegro.
World Cup history
1930 - Semifinals
1934 - Did not qualify
1938 - Did not qualify
1950 - First round
1954 - Quarter-finals
1958 - Quarter-finals
1962 - Semifinals (4th place)
1966 - Did not qualify
1970 - Did not qualify
1974 - Second round
1978 - Did not qualify
1982 - First Round
1986 - Did not qualify
1990 - Quarter-finals
1994 - Banned because of international sanctions
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
1998 - Second round
2002 - Did not qualify
Number of Previous World Cup Appearances: 9
All-time record: 37 games played, 16 wins, 8 draws, 13 losses
Goals for: 60 Goals against: 46
Biggest victory: 9-0 vs. Zaire in 1974
Biggest defeat: 6-1 vs. Uruguay in 1930
Overall top scorer: Drazan Jerkovic (4 goals)
Most appearances: Ivan Surjak and Dragan Stojkovic (9 matches).
Hosted the World Cup: Never
As Yugoslavia --
Under-20 World Champions: 1987
Under-21 European Champions: 1978
Under-19 European Champions: 1951, 1979
Olympic Gold Medal: 1960
Olympic Silver Medal: 1948, 1952, 1956
Olympic Bronze Medal: 1984
Dragan Dzajic: A speedy winger renowned for his incredible dribbling skills. He scored 23 goals in a record 85 appearances for Yugoslavia from 1964-79, but is best know for a legendary goal he scored against England in the semifinals of Euro 1968 to knock the reigning World champions out of the competition
Stjepan Bobek: Yugoslavia's all-time leading scorer with 38 goals in 63 games from 1946-56. Aside from playing in two World Cups (1950 and 1954) he also appeared in two Olympics, helping Yugoslavia win silver medals in 1948 and 1952. Considered the greatest player in the history of Yugoslav club FK Partizan, scoring 403 goals in 468 games.