Serbia Versus France

 

I photographed this sign close to my house. It is in the Cyrillic script and reads in the Serbian Latin script, “Srce Na Teren” which in English translates to “Leave Your Heart On the Field.” I guess some other rough English translations would be to “Give 100%” “Do or Die” “There is No Tomorrow”. They are all sport cliches refering to the big World Cup Qualifying match that will occur September 9, 2009 (09.09.09).

Serbia leads the Group 7 European Qualifying for next summer’s World Cup in South Africa. They have a five point advantage over second place, and group favorite France. France has an extra game to play on September 5, hosting Romania. If they win, they will then come into the Serbia game only 2 points behind. After playing Serbia, France has only to host the tiny Faroe Islands and Austria in October when group play completes. Serbia has a bit tougher after France, hosting Romania and then traveling to Lithuania. So it looks like the September 9th game will decide the group winner. 

Serbia lost to France 1-2 back in September of last year. This is their only loss and they have been impressive, winning in Romania and Austria. France has stumbled twice, losing in Vienna and a draw in Romania. It will be a fantastic match. The team finishing second place in the group will have to play a second place team in another group to qualify for South Africa. I’ll definitely be blogging the game live. 

I have previously blogged about the Serbian soccer team here, and our near death experience here.

September 9th Update: I watched the game from my home. I had the High School Open House at my school the same night as the game. I got home in time to watch it. I saw the Serbian penalty goal. It didn’t look like much of a foul, but the ref had to call it. I think the red card was a bit excessive. Great penalty kick, however, and Serbia was up 1-0. France came back to equalize on a good goal by veteran Henry. I had to put my daughter to bed at halftime and missed the second half. I watched the highlights immediately after the game. Serbia hit the crossbar on one good attempt but couldn’t get another goal. 

I think they played well and with a tie, it makes next month’s game (Serbia hosting on Saturday October 10) with Romania huge. They are still four points clear of France, but with France hosting the Faroe Islands in the next round, they can expect France to get three points. A win at home against Romania would clinch a spot in South Africa. Another tie, and it will come down to the last game on Wednesday October 14. Serbia goes to Lithuania and France hosts Austria. 

Serbia controls their own destiny and I would like to see them beat Romania to earn their place in the World Cup this summer! 


 

Serbia Defeats Sweden

Last night a bunch of us from school went to the national soccer team of Serbia play an exhibition match with Sweden. The game was held in Partizan Stadium, which is close to the school. Serbia is doing well lately in it World Cup Qualifying Group and continued to play top flight soccer with a 2 – 0 victory.
The “White Eagles” got off to a fast start with a goal in the first minute of play by the 6 foot 8 striker, Nikola Zigic. He plays in the Spanish league (Racing Santander) and used his height to head in a crossing pass into the back of the net.

Boys from ISB Enjoy the Game
Boys from ISB Enjoy the Game

Sweden dominated play in the first half but did not get a goal. I had to go home to take care of the kids as Nadia has the flu and needed help. Fortunately, I didn’t miss much of a half and got back in time to see Serbia get back control of play. They scored a second goal in the 82nd minute by Bosko Jankovic, who plays for Serie A team Genoa.
Serbia is currently first in its group in qualifying for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. They are at the midway point of the games. The top team in this European Group 7 qualifies automatically for the World Cup. In the remaining five games, Serbia will host Austria on June 6, travel to the Faroe Islands on June 10. When I get back from summer holidays, they have a huge game against soccer powerhouse France on September 9 at Red Star Stadium. They then host Romania on October 10, and finish the qualifying round by traveling to Lithuania October 14.
Serbia’s main rival in the group, France, defeated Serbia, but they lost to Austria and tied Romania, to end up 2 points behind Serbia. Lithuania is third, 3 points behind Serbia and Austria is five points behind.

Kosovo-born, CSKA Moscow Player Milos Krasic Heads Towards the Net
Kosovo-born, CSKA Moscow Player Milos Krasic Heads Towards the Net

Serbia features several European professional soccer superstars. The captain of the national team, Nemanja Vidic is considered one of the top defenders in Europe and plays for Manchester United. They have many young stars and this is a team that has a shot, as its toughest games in the second half of the qualifying round are at home. Regardless of the outcome, it will be exciting to follow.