World Cup: SBI's Group D Preview

World Cup: SBI's Group D Preview

World Cup 2010

World Cup: SBI's Group D Preview

By

Vidic

By TRAVIS CLARK

No other group seems to have been hit by injuries quite as hard as the nations in Group D. Ghana will be without midfield linchpin Michael Essien, while Germany lost captain Michael Ballack at the end of the club season, two of the tournament's biggest names.

A tough and mostly healthy Serbia side lies in wait, looking to take advantage of some notable absences to finish top of the group. Led by Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidić and Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stanković, they'll be particularly difficult to break down defensively.

Germany is well-known for consistently succeeding at this level, and despite the loss of Ballack, are favorites to grab that second knockout spot. Rising stars Mesut Özil and Marko Marin will battle for playing time and a chance to shine on soccer's biggest stage. They'll also supplement the veteran presence of Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The loss of Essien puts Ghana in a tight spot, and they'll turn to Kwadwo Asamoah to fill the gap in the center of the midfield. The Black Stars hope that Asamoah Gyan, Rennes' leading scorer in Ligue 1 this past season, can replicate some of his goal-scoring form in the tournament.

Australia, who rode a strong defensive record to the finals, will struggle to score goals and find themselves trying to avoid the group's bottom spot. An injury to Tim Cahill in last week's friendly against the United States, could be the fatal blow.

Here is SBI's take on Group D:

WORLD CUP GROUP D

Top Players to Watch

Dejan Stanković, Serbia

Miloš Krasić, Serbia

Asamoah Gyan, Ghana

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany

Philipp Lahm, Germany

Tim Cahill, Australia

Mark Schwarzer, Australia

Young Players to Watch

Zoran Tošić, Serbia

Neven Subotić, Serbia

Kwadwo Asamoah, Ghana

Mesut Özil, Germany

Marko Marin, Germany

SBI's Predicted Order of Finish

1. Serbia

2. Germany

3. Ghana

4. Australia

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How do you think Group D plays out?

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