Players Mental State Needs To Be Watched By Antić

11 06 2010

After a calamitous few weeks in which pre-optimism amongst the nation has taken a dent, victory last Sunday over Cameroon has reinstated belief back into those feeble fans. Radomir Antić knew that the final warm-up match was important as it could instil rhythm and morale back into the players before the first match of their group, against Ghana on Sunday. With a tough group ahead of them, the Serbians will know that the unity amongst the camp needs to be solid if they are to progress.

In a farewell match in Belgrade, Serbia showed their attacking prowess, justifying the media’s claims that they could be the team to watch. Although they showed defensive frailties, the way in which they responded to going behind twice in the game showed the mental toughness they have which can be significant in defeating your opponent. After falling behind to a fourth minute goal from Pierre Webó, Antić‘s men showed they can score scrappy goals as well. Ivan Obradović roamed down the left flank, slid a deadly low cross into the box which the goalkeeper pushed into the feet of Miloš Krasić who tucked away a rare goal. Again they fell behind courtesy of Webo’s second, but conjured up a lovely move in which Krasić set up his captain Dejan Stanković with a delightful back heel who then happily smashed it in from outside the box. Nenad Milijaš converted a penalty and Marko Pantelić scored from close range before half time to complete their victory.

Miloš Krasić Will Be Hoping He Can Score More Goals

On the defensive front they were missing left-back Aleksandar Kolarov and Nemanja Vidić, so for their game against Ghana they should have a more stable defensive line. Vidić has actually missed their past two games after coming down with a stomach bug and suffering from a temperature, but his coach expects him to be fit in time for Sunday. However something which may cause concern for Antić could be the state of mind of some of his players. With a few of them linked with transfers, such as Kolarov to Real Madrid and Krasić to Juventus, he will be hoping they don’t try and over emphasise when on the ball and lead to rash mistakes. Kolarov seems to have expressed his situation in a dignified manner and had this to say “I like that my name appears [to Real Madrid] but out of respect for my national team and my country, these days I must stay focused on the World Cup. It also indicates that I am doing things right and that if I have a good tournament in South Africa there will be even more intensive talk of this possibility.”

The new Adidas Jabulani football has been tested out in these recent friendlies, and it has attracted a lot of unwanted attention. A string of high-profile players have expressed their disappointment in the ball such as Gianluigi Buffon, David James, Hugo Lloris and Julio Cesar, all noticeably talented goalkeepers. The latest name to add to the ever-growing list is Serbia’s goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković. “I have played with many different balls in my time – those that swerve a lot, change direction, fly awkwardly – but this one is definitely the worst of all. It has been intentionally made to suit outfield players and to contribute to a high number of goals at the World Cup.” Adidas recently implied that there seems to be a propaganda instigated by players representing rival endorsers Nike, but it seems too much of a coincidence.

Vidić has expressed his desire to avoid playing England should his country progress past the group stage, but with England seemingly favourites to top their group and Serbia more likely to finish second in group D, a clash between the nations could occur in the second round. Plying his trade in the Premier League for the past four seasons, he knows how dangerous they could be.“If we got to the second round I would like to miss England. I play against these players and I train with some of them every day. But it is best to focus on the first game because success at the World Cup for Serbia would be to reach the second round.”

With only a couple of days before they take part in their first official World Cup match, the players will want to be certain they are in the right frame of mind to stamp their authority on the tournament and will be hoping they can use the victory over Cameroon as a springboard.

As seen on – A Different League

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