|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
Nemanja Vidic has told Soccernet that Serbia do not fear Germany, despite suggestions that the three-time winners are destined to finish top of Group D.
Serbia begin their World Cup campaign when facing Ghana in Pretoria on Sunday and will be hoping to start in impressive fashion given that they occupy one of the most competitive groups in South Africa, with Australia completing the quartet.
Germany have impressive pedigree at the World Cup and the group is expected to become a three-way battle to join Joachim Low's side in qualifying for the last 16, but Vidic is not intimidated by Germany, despite their formidable reputation.
"Germany always do well in these tournaments, we are very aware of that," Vidic told Soccernet. "Their ability to always perform well on the biggest stage cannot be underestimated.
"People say they are the favourites to win the group, but I know we have quality as well, we believe in ourselves and we are not afraid of them."
Serbia and Ghana have the chance to earn a head start on the Germans as they play in Sunday's early evening game, before Australia provide the opposition for Low's side in Durban.
Ghana's preparations for the World Cup were undermined when they lost the services of star midfielder Michael Essien to injury, and while Manchester United defender Vidic admires his Premier League rival, he expects Sunday's opponents to produce a suitable replacement for the Chelsea midfielder.
"He is a big player, there's no doubt," Vidic said. "I've played against him a number of times and have a lot of respect for him.
"He plays at the very highest level for both Chelsea and Ghana and Ghana will definitely miss him, but they have a good team and a number of good individuals who can fill in for him.
"They have quick, strong players and the game on Sunday is not going to be easy. The first game is so important for confidence, and we feel that we have enough quality to deal with Ghana."
Serbia's preparations for the finals have not been without their own travails as Raddy Antic's side lost to New Zealand and drew 0-0 with Poland before beating Cameroon 4-3 on June 5.
Vidic hopes Serbia have taken their poor performances on board and will be transformed once the phony war is over, and the tournament begins for real.
"We didn't have a great result against New Zealand, it was very disappointing and we have thought a lot about the mistakes we made, which is obviously very important to be able to improve our performances," Serbia said.
"We have been working hard to pick up our fitness, and eliminate these mistakes so we can achieve some good form in the tournament. It's much better for us to lose in the friendlies than in the World Cup."
Nemanja Vidic is one of many footballers maximising their performances throughout the World Cup by wearing the PUMA Power Cat 1.10 Tricks boot