Group D Odds: Germany 1.80; Ghana 5.50; Serbia 4.00; Australia 9.00.
Group D Schedule:
Serbia v Ghana, Pretoria, June 13, 4pm
Germany v Australia, Durban, June 13, 8.30pm
Germany v Serbia, Port Elizabeth, June 18; 1.30pm
Ghana v Australia, Rustenburg, June 19, 4pm
Ghana v Germany, Johannesburg, June 23, 8.30pm
Australia v Serbia, Nelspruit, June 23, 8.30pm
*All times local [ad#as3]
Group D Teams:
Germany: Dennis Aogo; Holger Badstuber; Jerome Boateng; Hans Joerg Butt; Cacau; Arne Friedrich; Mario Gomez; Marcell Jansen; Sami Khedira; Stefan Kiebling; Miroslav Klose; Toni Kroos; Philipp Lahm; Marko Marin; Per Mertesacker; Thomas Muller; Manuel Neuer; Mesut Ozil; Lukas Podolski; Bastian Schweinsteiger; Serdar Tasci; Piotr Trochowski; Tim Wiese.
Ghana: Lee Addy; Dominic Adiyiah; Daniel Agyei; Stephen Ahorlu; Matthew Amoah; Anthony Annan; Stephen Appiah; Kwadwo Asamoah; Abdul Rahim Ayew; Dede Ayew; Derek Boateng; Kevin-Prince Boateng; Asamoah Gyan; Samuel Inkoom; Richard Kingson; John Mensah; Jonathan Mensah; Sulley Muntari; Quincy Owusu-Abeyie; John Paintsil; Hans Sarpei; Prince Tagoe; Isaac Vorsah.
Serbia: Andjelko Djuricic; Bojan Isailovic; Branislav Ivanovic; Milan Jovanovic; Gojko Kacar; Aleksandar Kolarov; Miloš Krasic; Zdravko Kuzmanovic; Danko Lazovic; Aleksandar Lukovic; Nenad Milijaš; Dragan Mrda; Miloš Ninkovic; Ivan Obradovic; Marko Pantelic; Radosav Petrovic; Antonio Rukavina; Dejan Stankovic; Vladimir Stojkovic; Neven Subotic; Zoran Tošic; Nemanja Vidic; Nikola Žigic.
Australia: Marco Bresciano; Michael Beauchamp; Tim Cahill; David Carney; Scott Chipperfield; Jason Culina; Brett Emerton; Adam Federici; Eugene Galekovic; Richard Garcia; Vince Grella; Brett Holman; Mile Jedinak; Joshua Kennedy; Harry Kewell; Mark Milligan; Craig Moore; Lucas Neill; Nikita Rukavytsya; Mark Schwarzer; Carl Valeri; Dario Vidosic; Luke Wilkshire.
Group D Predictions:
Ron Patel: So much for an African team in the second round. Didier Drogba’s injury hampered the Ivory Coast’s prospects – I don’t think, actually, they would have advanced anyway – and Ghana is without the highly influential Michael Essien. It’s a shame. Ghana needed Essien to have a shot of going through, but without the Chelsea midfielder, forget it. The Germans are without captain Michael Ballack, but they’re a tournament team and, at least in the group stage, will advance. The question is, can Serbia finish first? Don’t bet against it. The Serbians have three world-class defenders and an impressive forward line. Australia did well to reach the second round in 2006, but this bunch isn’t as good as four years ago and has little punch up front, besides the injury prone Tim Cahill. Serbia and Germany to advance, in that order. Do you fancy England and Germany in the second round?
Frank Finnegan: I find this to be quite possibly the most interesting group in the tournament. Four really tough sides here, with differing styles. Prior to the injuries to Ballack and Essien, I felt pretty strongly about Germany and Ghana advancing, but those injuries – in particular Essien – are game-changers. I do not like Ghana’s chances without the Bison, not that they don’t have other quality players, but he really held the ship together. This is not a vintage Germany team, but we’ve said that before, Die Mannschaft always seems to step up for the World Cup. I think they will still find a way to win this group, with Serbia coming second, and providing England with a really difficult Round of 16 match. Australia will fight everyone tooth-and-nail, but I’m just not crazy about their goal-scoring options.
Greg Neville: Most pundits are tipping Germany to advance so I won’t sway from that thinking and will use my blurb to state the Socceroos’ case to be the other side to go through with them. The key is that Aussie trio Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton are all fit to play despite injury scares in the lead up to Australia’s third World Cup finals appearance. Mark Schwarzer, captain Lucas Neill, Cahill and Kewell form the spine of this side and they are hungry to prove that the 2006 run that ended in a round of 16 narrow loss to eventual champions Italy was no fluke. Led by Dutch manager Pim Verbeek – from the same mould of Guus Hiddink – this side will feed off its underdog status and get the necessary results from three tough matches in this the tightest group of the tournament.
Peter Howard: Ghana was right there with Ivory Coast for the African nations that could make a run in this tournament. Losing Essien, however, is going to be too much for Ghana to overcome. Germany is the class of this Group, even with Ballack out. Look for the Germans to advance, and the other spot in this group to come down to the final day’s match between Australia and Serbia. The Socceroos will be the underdogs in that match, but that’s probably how they’d prefer it. Serbia might be on paper the better side, but the intangibles of the stage and situation will get the better of the Serbs, and the Aussies will go waltzing (Matilda) into the Round of 16.
Alex Michaels: This group became a whole lot more interesting following German cries of conspiracy aimed at Ghana’s German-born Kevin-Prince Boateng after he nobbled German captain Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final last month. And with Boateng’s brother, Jerome, lining up for the Germans, you’ve got sibling rivalry thrown in, too, so I’m definitely looking forward to that match on June 23. The Aussies have been growing in confidence after their run to the last 16 in 2006, and I think with a fit Tim Cahill, they have the chance to match that here. The Serbs, with Ivanovic and Vidic in their backline, will be hard to break down, and could be a strong force. The Germans may sneak first place, and it’s a tough call between the Aussies and Serbs for second.