Australia beat Serbia, both go out of World Cup

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NELSPRUIT - Australia beat Serbia 2-1 in Group D Wednesday at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit but both teams go home as Germany and Ghana progress.

Cahill rose to head past Stojkovic putting Australia 1-0 and Brett Holman shot from distance for the second. Marko Pantelic then gave Serbia hope when Schwarzer spilled a shot from Zoran Tosic and the Cologne player tapped in the rebound.

But it was not enough and it will be group winners Germany who play England in Bloemfontein Sunday and second placed Ghana who play the United States in Rustenburg Saturday.

Australia were on a run of five World Cup matches without a win but were hoping to repeat their 2006 performance when they made it to the last-16 before being knocked-out by eventual winners Italy.

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek was able to recall Tim Cahill, who returned from a one-match suspension picked-up in the game Australia lost to Germany 4-0.

Verbeek also handed a World Cup debut to Michael Beauchamp because veteran Craig Moore was suspended.

Serbia manager Radomir Antic made two changes in defence, replacing left-back Aleksandar Kolarov with Ivan Obradovic while Aleksandar Lukovic came in for Neven Subotic at the heart of defence.

The Serbians made all the early running and Milos Krasic got the first shot on target that Mark Schwarzer turned around his face. Krasic was then sent clear by Milos Ninkovic, but after going around the keeper he put his shot wide.

Australian striker Cahill reacquainted himself with Premier League foe Nemanja Vidic when the Manchester United man caught the Everton player with a flailing arm when both went for a free-kick. Cahill went down holding his face but match officials had seen nothing.

The dominance continued when Branislav Ivanovic burst into the Australia area only to see his powerful drive brilliantly saved by the on-form Schwarzer.

Serbia could have wrapped things up inside the first half hour if not for poor finishing and they wasted another chance on 34 minutes when giant striker Nikola Zigic headed Ivanovic\’s cross wide from the edge of the six-yard box.

Krasic then had his third clear-cut chance but despite converting Milan Jovanovic\’s pass he did so from an off-side position and had the goal ruled-out.

Australia had the last chance of the first half when Joshua Kennedy headed Brett Emerton\’s cross tamely at Serbian keeper Vladimir Stojkovic, but Serbia had dominated the opening 45 minutes.

Serbia started the second half as the ended the first with Zigic shooting over from inside the area and then on 69 minutes they paid for all those missed chances when Cahill rose to head past Stojkovic putting Australia 1-0.

The Serbs were stunned and four minutes later they were two down when AZ Alkmaar striker Holman shot from distance and beat Stojkovic to leave the Socceroos two further goals from a dramatic qualification.

Marko Pantelic then gave Serbia hope when Schwarzer spilled a shot from Zoran Tosic and the Cologne player tapped in the rebound.

Pantelic then thought he had equalised only for the linesman\’s flag to correctly rule out the effort.

And with their last chance Pantelic was set-up by Tosic be he shot over from the edge of the six yard box. Australia had won the match despite all Serbia\’s first half chances and the World Cup was over for both

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