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By ESPN Staff
May 24, 2006

Serbia's Vidic relishes potential clash with England

PALIC, Serbia and Montenegro, May 24 (Reuters) - Serbia and Montenegro defender Nemanja Vidic would relish a clash with England if both teams qualify for the latter stages of the World Cup finals in Germany.

"Absolutely, I would love to come face to face with my Manchester United team mates playing for England in the knockout stage of the competition," he told reporters at the team's training camp in the northern Serbian town of Palic.

"Of course, I would like us to win but I would also be the first to congratulate them if they came out on top. England have a great young team and I see them as one of the three favourites to go all the way," he said.

Vidic, who joined Manchester United in January from Spartak Moscow, tipped world champions Brazil and Serbia's Group C rivals Argentina as the other main contenders.

"However, there are many good teams in the tournament and a bad day against any of them could put the major contenders on an early flight home. It will also come down to a stroke of luck, determination and resilience," the 24-year-old said

The centre back is suspended for Serbia and Montenegro's opening match against the Netherlands on June 11 but was looking forward to man-marking Didier Drogba in the final group fixture against Ivory Coast..

"The Chelsea striker is a fantastic player and really difficult to contain with his strength and speed but I've got a basic idea what to do because I've played against him in the Premier league this season," Vidic said.

Serbia and Montenegro will compete in the June 9-July 9 tournament as a unified team. Montenegro voted for independence last Sunday and the two soccer federations said they would split after the finals.

They play Argentina in Gelsenkirchen on June 16 and complete their group fixtures against Ivory Coast in Munich on June 21.