Group D contains some of the world’s best countries. Germany may be just a cut above but all the teams in their group should make life difficult for them.
Normally, neither Serbia nor Ghana would consider themselves favourites. For Ghana, it’s a chance to emulate 2006’s great escape from a group containing eventual champions Italy, the strong Czechs and USA, and for Serbia, it’s a chance to avenge a poor performance that saw them crash out in round 1. But these are not normal circumstances.
With Michael Essien absent, Ghana are severely deflated, as reflected in their poor form leading up to the tournament, their best result being a 1-0 victory over Latvia. Though many of the team were part of the side that claimed second spot in the African Cup of Nations, Milovan Rajevac’s men will face tougher opposition here. The shining light is the re-emergence of Stephen Appiah; a forgotten man at Bologna this season, Appiah is the embodiment of calm and leadership.
Serbia are steady if not spectacular, able to compete with a full-strength team that includes Nemanja Vidic, highly sought after Milos Krasic, Branislav Ivanovic, treble-winning Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic and new Birmingham 6’7” striker Nikola Zigic. Their automatic qualification saw them force France into a play-off to join them. Very strong.
A fairly tense match, Serbia’s strong backline should hold off Ghana, and all that’s required of them is to score on the counter-attack.