Antic confident Serbia can qualify

BELGRADE - Serbia have a great opportunity to reach the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup finals after they were drawn in Group D with Germany, Australia and Ghana, coach Radomir Antic said.

"I am happy with the draw and we must head into the tournament with confidence, we have a great opportunity to do well and I have no reason to stop being optimistic now," Antic told Serbian television after Friday's draw in Cape Town.

"All our rivals are top quality teams with a number of outstanding individuals, but I think we have a realistic chance of reaching the last 16 regardless of their strength.

The Serbians, who qualified for their first major tournament as an independent nation, open their campaign against Ghana - coached by their compatriot Milovan Rajevac - in Pretoria on June 13.

"Ghana are an excellent team with Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien their driving force and the outcome of the opening match with them will be crucial for our bid to reach the second round," Antic said.

They take on Germany in Port Elizabeth on June 18 and clash with Australia in Nelspruit on June 23.

"We'll probably know what we need to do in order to go through before our final group match, what we must bear in mind is that we are playing against Ghana and Australia at high altitude while we take on Germany at sea level."

Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Nenad Milijas was also delighted with the composition of Serbia's group.

"If someone had offered this group to us before the draw, we would have certainly taken it," he told Belgrade's B92 website.