I usually have belief in Serbia’s national football team, no matter how bad or good we are, but something about this German squad that really concerned me. Sure we were coming off a fantastic qualifying phase, where we had finished first ahead of world powerhouse, France and a solid Austrian side. Germany is a team that had always worried me. Great passing, solid defending and some world class strikers who did not need much space, nor time to score. Coming in, Germany was one of the favourites to win the entire tournament, depending on who you asked, of course.
Serbia was coming off its first defeat of the tournament, where they lost to a good Ghana side that converted on a penalty late in the match to win by a score of 1-0; Germany was coming off a high as they beat Australia 4-0 in their first match of the tournament. This was a big time mismatch on paper, right?
From the first minute of the match, Serbia showed that they were not there just to grab the one point and settle for a tie; instead they played attacking football through wingers Krasic and Jovanovic with some help from both Kolarov and Ivanovic as the defensive backs. In the 37th minute of the match, Klose picked up a very costly second yellow card, which left the powerhouse Germans with 10 men on the pitch-very shocking moment for both teams, not just Germany. About a minute after going down to 10 men, Serbia scored to take the 1-0 lead, as Jovanovic converted a headed on ball by the lanky Zigic. Goosebumps were felt throughout my body; I could not believe what was happening.
Even though they were a man down, Germany continued to pressure Serbia throughout the second half. In the 59th minute a penalty was awarded to Germany, after Vidic played a ball with his hand in the penalty area. I thought to myself, “This is so typical. How does this happen to us all the time!?!?” Stojkovic-who was Serbia’s number one keeper at the time, and still to this day-had a history of making big time stops in his career, but once again I thought to myself “Surely not this time, definitely not on the biggest stage of them all, right?” Boy was I wrong. Podolski, went to his right and so did Stojkovic to make an outstanding stop on one of the best players in the world at that time.
As the match progressed, Germany showed great skill going forward, but my confidence in Serbia’s back four grew, even though Germany had plenty of chances to equalize. Serbia had some excellent opportunities, as well. Jovanovic hit the post after some wonderful work from Krasic and Zigic had a header sail just over the net.
Once the final whistle blew, the Serbian players as well as management could not hold their emotions. To this day, this is Serbia’s biggest win on the international stage.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.