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Serbia

Serbia

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Team Profile: Serbia

GettyImagesSerbia qualified for the finals as winners of Group 7

Appearances at finals:
(As Yugoslavia)
1930 - Semi-finals
1950 - Fourth place
1954 - Quarter-finals
1958 - Quarter-finals
1962 - Fourth place
1974 - Second round
1982 - First round
1990 - Quarter-finals
1998 - Second round

(As Serbia & Montenegro)
2006 - First round

Overall record at finals: Played 40, Won 16, Drawn 8, Lost 16.

Best performance: (As Yugoslavia) Fourth place in 1962.

Most appearances at finals: Dragan Stojkovic (1990, 1998) - 9 (for Yugoslavia).

Most goals at finals: Ivan Bek (1930), Kosta Tomasevic (1950), Todor Veselinovic (1958) - 3 (for Yugoslavia).

World Cup high: The fourth-place finish in 1962, after reaching the semi-finals and losing to Czechoslovakia.

World Cup low: Failing to get out of the group stage for only the second time, as Serbia & Montenegro, at the 2006 finals.

World Cup legend: Serbian Ivan Bek was top scorer for Yugoslavia as they reached the semi-finals of the first World Cup in 1930.

The story so far: Serbia is recognised by FIFA and UEFA as the direct descendant of the Yugoslavia national team, but this will be their first finals as an independent nation. Historically, some of Yugoslavia's star players were drawn from other now-independent states such as Bosnia and Croatia.

Throughout the earlier years, Yugoslavia were regular qualifiers and would reach the last eight of the competition, but they now have to rebuild with a smaller pool of players to call on as Serbia.

Qualification: Serbia were very much the second favourites to qualify from their group, with former winners and 2006 runners-up France drawn against them. They lost 2-1 in France early in qualifying, but that was Serbia's only defeat until they lost in Lithuania after securing qualification.

The crucial games came in September when France could only draw at home to Romania then, four days later, Serbia drew 1-1 at home to France as Thierry Henry levelled Nenad Milijas' penalty kick. Serbia sealed their place a month later by thrashing Romania 5-0 at the Stadion Crvena Zvezda.

Qualifying record: - P10, W7, D1, L2, F22, A8, Pts22.

Most appearances: Milos Krasic (10).

Top goalscorer: Milan Jovanovic (6).