Serbia poised for progress after breaking jinx

JOHANNESBURG - Serbia stand a great chance reaching the second stage in their first major tournament as an independent nation after breaking their jinx against top level sides with a 1-0 World Cup win over Germany on Friday.

Serbia play outsiders Australia in a Group D clash at Nelspruit on Wednesday with a win likely to put them through. Australia, defeated 4-0 by Germany in their first game of the tournament, play Ghana in Rustenburg later on Saturday.

"I am delighted we won but we have to keep our feet on the ground because we have another tough match coming up," Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, who saved a penalty and was named man of the match against Germany in Port Elizabeth, said.

Serbia's reshuffled 4-3-2-1 formation featuring Nikola Zigic as the lone striker stifled out the German midfield and always looked dangerous on the break, with Milos Krasic and Milan Jovanovic giving their markers a roasting on either flank.

But the Serbians showed their old ailments after Jovanovic scored, sitting back on their lead with an extra man on the pitch, and it took a superb reaction by Stojkovic to keep them in the driving seat.

German had been reduced to 10-men just a minute before Serbia's goal with striker Miroslav Klose sent off for two bookable offences.

Serbia coach Radomir Antic is known for rarely changing a winning team but is now likely to field a more adventurous formation than he did against the Germans.

Danko Lazovic or Marko Pantelic could come into the frame alongside Zigic up front while Neven Subotic should hold on to his spot in the centre of defence after replacing the suspended Aleksandar Lukovic.

Serbia centre back Nemanja Vidic, who error led to the German penalty, said Stojkovic should thank him for winning the man of the match award.

"I am relieved actually because it was a terrible error, I was disorientated and the ball struck my arm," Vidic told reporters after Serbia notched their first win over a leading soccer nation.

"We all hugged Stojkovic in the dressing room and I think he should thank me for giving him the opportunity to become a hero, he's getting all the attention now and he deserves it.

"I told him I owe him one but in a way he owes me too."

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