The College View’s Niall Farrell was on hand to watch Serbia record their first victory at this summer’s World Cup against a much fancied Germany.
Unfancied Serbia got their first win of the World Cup with an effective performance against a German side unlucky not to equalise.
The first ten minutes saw few genuine chances, with both sides displaying a lack of conviction. One notable chance came after seven minutes as Lukas Podolski cracked a shot into the side netting.
As Philip Lahm arched a dangerous cross into the Serbian penalty area, Nemanja Vidic could only head as far as Podolski on the edge of the box. Podolski hit the ball powerfully with the outside of his foot but it fell wide of Vladimir Stojkovic’s goal.
The match did seem to have a streak of ill-discipline as four yellow cards were issued by the twenty-first minute.
Mesut Özil was dynamic as ever, and had a chance on twenty-one minutes with a header at the near post from a corner but the ball was cleared away by Neven Subotic.
Germany played a pressing game with the emphasis on attack, but Serbia couldn’t find a way to mount real attacks of their own within the first thirty minutes.
For all their lacklustre attacking, Serbia did do a great job of keeping the German attack, in particular Miroslav Klose, quiet. Klose was denied an space to move and the Serbs moved quickly to close down the Germans when they advanced into their third of the pitch.
The Germans had a succession of goal chances in the thirty-third and thirt0fourth minutes. Philipp Lahm played the ball to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who attempted a cross to Miroslav Klose three yards from goal on the left side. Left with no clear shot on goal, Klose was forced to head in back across goal but Vidic hoofed the ball clear.
Klose was the centre of attention again as he charged back and put in a clumsy tackle on Dejan Stankovic. Already on a yellow card, Klose was given his marching orders by referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco.
Serbia used the momentum gained from the sending off to get the upper hand in a match that had previously been swinging Germany’s way.
A free-kick was launched down the right wing to Milos Krasic who crossed to 6’’7’ Nikola Zigic at the far post. Zigic jumped and knocked the ball back for Jovanovic, who was able to finish past Manuel Neuer in goal for Germany.
A frantic finish for the first half ensued as a German corner was palmed away by Stojkovic only to find Sami Khedira. Khedira hammered the ball past the helpless Stojkovic, but it thundered back out after hitting the inside of the crossbar.
Thomas Müller tried an overhead kick as the ball came to him, but the ball was dramatically cleared off the line by a Serbian defender.
Germany came out from half time with a renewed vigour and desire to get an equaliser, and had their first chance of the second half nine minutes after the break. A German cross found Mesut Özil just outside the box, but Özil left it for Podolski to strike a fine shot at goal. Vladimir Stojkovic got in the way for Serbia to prevent a fantastic goal.
Özil’s class was again on show as he cleverly played Podolski in yards from goal with a clever flick. Podolski’s fierce shot again went into the side netting.
The tempo of the match went up a few notches subsequently. On fifty-nine minutes a German attack yielded a seemingly innocuous cross, which Nemanja Vidic foolishly handballed. A penalty was awarded, but Lukas Podolski’s poor shot was saved capably by Stojkovic to keep the scores level.
Serbia reversed the seemingly endless tide of German attacks after sixty-six minutes as Milos Krasic forged a chance out of his charge down the right wing.
Krasic passed to Jovanovic, whose shot came back out off the left post as Manuel Neuer looked beaten.
Nikola Zigic continued the theme of Serbian shots hitting the post on seventy-three minutes, as his close-range shot came off the upright and rebounded out.
Referee Undiano was a major talking point, as his rate of giving both free-kicks and yellow-cards dramatically slowed down in the second half, despite several tough tackles.
Serbia spurned a number of chances to kill the match off, with two clear chances from Jovanovic and Zigic in the seventy-fourth minute wasted.
Germany’s seemingly relentless drive for an equaliser lulled a bit in the following minutes, despite the introductions of the energetic Marko Marin and Cacau.
With less than three minutes remaining, a defensive lapse from Arne Friedrich let Milos Krasic go behind the defensive line and play the ball to substitute Gojko Kacar, but Kacar’s cross went well over the waiting Zigic.
Radomir Antic’s Serbia secured a famous victory through efficient defensive organisation, as well as a degree of luck that Germany weren’t in a finishing mood. The group is now delicately poised, with Ghana still to play Australia in the second round of fixtures. A victory there would take the Black Stars to the top of the group.