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Dec, 8, 2009

Ghana coach will do Serbia no favours

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac will not do his Serbian compatriots any favours when the teams meet in next year's World Cup Group D opener.

Serbia play the Black Stars in Pretoria on June 13 and the outcome could be vital in the scrap for a top-two finish in a tight group including 2006 semi-finalists Germany and Australia.

"Some media in Ghana have sunk into complete euphoria after we qualified for the World Cup and suggest that I may not be fully committed to beating Serbia when we clash," Rajevac told Reuters.

"That is complete nonsense, I can understand their passion but they should think again because I am not going there to give away matches, we want to at least emulate the 2006 success when Ghana reached the last 16 under fellow Serb Ratomir Dujkovic.

"Of course I wish Serbia all the best and I will be a very happy man if both teams go through to the knockout rounds and reach the final, which is also theoretically possible. "It is going to be tough for both teams to get past the group stage though, because Germany are the favourites while Australia are no pushovers either."

With the runners-up of Ghana's group facing the winners of Group C, Ghana face a potential second-round tie against Fabio Capello's England, and Rajevac is confident his side are capable of beating the third favourites, highlighting Ghana's 4-0 victory over England in the recent Under-20 world cup.

"England have improved beyond recognition under Fabio Capello and they are one of the favourites to win the World Cup, but they are not invincible if you deploy the right tactics," he said.

"They have abandoned their kick-and-run game in favour of a more continental style, but Ghana's emphatic win over them in the under-20 tournament in Egypt has shown the way how to play against more heralded opponents.

"English clubs are stronger then their national team because they have so many world-class foreigners and I am sure we would be able to stand our ground if we faced them in South Africa."

Meanwhile, Germany coach Joachim Loew believes Ghana will be a difficult side to beat when the sides go head-to-head in South Africa.

"For me, Ghana and Algeria are the best African teams," Loew told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. "Ghana are physical, as demonstrated by their midfield star Michael Essien who is very strong. They have great speed and stamina. Ghana have a great pool of talent to draw from, with their Under-20 side recently crowned world champions."

While Germany are the favourites to win their group, the runner-up spot will be up for grabs and Loew, who has followed Serbia's route to the finals, believes Australia will be the underdogs.

"Serbia play unbelievably good football and are technically well versed and quick on the ball," he said

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