Gleeful Antic sums up Serb joy

PORT ELIZABETH - Radomir Antic has been tight-lipped at this World Cup but the Serbian coach could barely contain himself on Friday attempting to describe what a World Cup 1-0 win over Germany meant to his country.

A small Balkan people who have seen their borders shrink over decades of armed conflict, the Serbs claimed an unlikely victory flooring thrice winners Germany to register their first World Cup win as an independent country.

"This is a victory for our people who will for sure know how to celebrate this victory," said Serb coach Radomir Antic. "This team represents its people because it is energetic and because it is ready to fight.

"What is certain is Serbian people have recognised themselves in this team.

"This victory will be appreciated in the right way."

The last time the Serbs celebrated a win over Germany in the World Cup they were part of the former-Yugoslavia contributing to a 1-0 win 48 years ago in Chile in the quarter-finals.

But the Slivovitz, the Serbian version of grappa, is sure to be flowing in Belgrade this weekend as Serbs toast the triumph that has put their World Cup fate back into their own hands.

Moving on to the second round seemed an unlikely dream for the White Eagles after an uninspiring 1-0 loss to Ghana in their Group D opener.

But the Serbs displayed the fighting spirit German coach Joachim Loew had warned his team against, battling for every ball through a fierce contest that featured German forward Miroslav Klose sent off and seven others booked.

"Can we say this is the return of the fighters? The ones the people didn't believe in anymore? I don't know but for sure this shows us we have to believe more in ourselves," said Antic. "This victory is more than just a victory.

"This victory has a much greater impact on us psychologically than any other victory.

"This victory will permit us to think about ourselves because with this victory we can decide our own fate."

A Group D that a young German team was expected to easily top has now been thrown wide open with Serbia, Ghana and Germany all on three points. Ghana can go top with a victory over winless Australia in their second match on Saturday.

"Everyone believed in this win," Serb keeper Vladimir Stojkovic told reporters. "To win against Germany at the World Cup is quite something and we deserved it as a group.

"We worked so hard the last two years."

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