Rajevac: Ghana will do Serbia no favours

BELGRADE - Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac has said he will not do his Serbian compatriots any favours when the teams meet in next year's World Cup Group D opener.

Serbia play Ghana in Pretoria on June 13 and the outcome could be vital in the scrap for a top-two finish in a tight group including 2006 semi-finalists Germany and Australia.

"Some media in Ghana have sunk into complete euphoria after we qualified for the World Cup and suggest that I may not be fully committed to beating Serbia when we clash," Rajevac told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

"That is complete nonsense, I can understand their passion but they should think again because I am not going there to give away matches, we want to at least emulate the 2006 success when Ghana reached the last 16 under fellow Serb Ratomir Dujkovic.

"Of course I wish Serbia all the best and I will be a very happy man if both teams go through to the knockout rounds and reach the final, which is also theoretically possible.

"It is going to be tough for both teams to get past the group stage though, because Germany are the favourites while Australia are no pushovers either."

Ghana will use next month's African Nations Cup in Angola as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup and Rajevac said he would experiment by using some of the players who won October's under-20 World Cup in Egypt.

"It will be a blend of youth and experience, comprising players who have been the national team's backbone over the years and those who shone in Ghana's under-20 World Cup triumph.

"We will miss injured captain Stephen Appiah and several other players face a race against time to be fit but we are still hoping to hit top form at the right time."

ENGLAND BEATABLE

The top two teams from World Cup Group D cross paths with those who advance from Group C, where England are favourites to finish ahead of the United States, Slovenia and Algeria.

Rajevac is confident that Ghana can beat England if the two teams meet in the knockout stage of the tournament and said their 4-0 group stage win over the English in the under-20 World Cup could be significant.

"England have improved beyond recognition under Fabio Capello and they are one of the favourites to win the World Cup, but they are not invincible if you deploy the right tactics," he said.

"They have abandoned their kick-and-run game in favour of a more continental style, but Ghana's emphatic win over them in the under-20 tournament in Egypt has shown the way how to play against more heralded opponents.

"English clubs are stronger then their national team because they have so many world-class foreigners and I am sure we would be able to stand our ground if we faced them in South Africa."