Preview: Serbia and Montenegro v Netherlands

The irresistible force meets the unmovable object when the Netherlands meets Serbia and Montenegro in Leipzig on Sunday.

    Van Basten: A man on a mission

    The Dutch have the best points-per-game average of any of the 32 teams taking part in the World Cup, while Serbia and Montenegro had the best defence of any team in European qualifying.

    Dutch coach Marco Van Basten has the job of delivering a long overdue first World Cup. When handed the reigns he quickly set about selecting a young, fresh side and they will be cheered on by a large, passionate and noticeable Dutch crowd.

    15,000 fans turned out to watch the side during their first public training session in Freiburg.

    "We should benefit from playing so close to home," said van Basten.

    "We sense this enthusiasm. It is now for the players to take that onto the pitch.”

    Former AC Milan player Van Basten has opted for a 4-3-3 formation in order to best accommodate his attacking options, which include the likes of Chelsea’s Arjen Robben, Manchester United’s Ruud van Nistelrooy and Feyenoord’s Dirk Kuyt.

    Chelsea’s Robben outlined the confidence in the squad.

    "But we also have a squad packed with quality. We think together, we play really tightly and I am very confident.

    "The Dutch have players who can take us a long way in the tournament,” he said.

    Without question Ilija Petkovic’s men will be looking for their iron clad defence to lay the foundation for their attempted progress through the group.

    Goran Gavrancic a ruthless
    defender

    Defenders Nemanja Vidic and Goran Gavrancic, who play for Manchester United and Dynamo Kiev respectively, will no doubt be seen as the two players most responsible for keeping the miserly defensive reputation in tact.

    However, whilst playing under the banner of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro have never beaten the Netherlands, and their last competitive fixture saw the Dutch win in a 6-1 rout in Rotterdam in 2000.

    Charged with scoring the goals necessary to overturn that record will be the enigmatic striking duo of Savo Milsosevic and Metja Kezman.

    While Montenegro have just voted for their independence, the two republics will be united in celebration should a crucial three points come their way on Sunday.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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