Vidic front up to tough test
emanja Vidic has a desperation to be involved in the 2010 World Cup after injury denied him the chance to participate four years ago. Like most Serbs, Vidic is immensely proud of his nation. His eyes light up when he discusses those famed Belgrade battles between Red Star and Partizan that were so much part of his youth, when Vidic used to side with Red Star. He went on to play for them too, moving on to Spartak Moscow and finally Manchester United as he established himself as one of the best, and toughest, defenders in the world. Now he wants the chance to prove it, knowing he missed out last time, having been paired with Argentina, the Ivory Coast and Holland. Not surprisingly Serbia and Montenegro, as they then were, did not make it through. It was a dreadfully difficult draw for the Serbs. Luck was not on their side in Cape Town last year when they were dumped into another of those 'Groups of Death'. Serbia's European opposition comes from Germany, the Africans are a youthful Ghana side rated by many as the best chance of progress from a continent hosting the tournament for the first time. If that wasn't enough, Australia are also in the mix. Little wonder Vidic is eager for Serbia to get off to a fast start this time around. "It is very important to start well," he said. "We had a problem with injuries last time. We were in a difficult group to start with and it just didn't go well. "Obviously it is not easy this time either but I don't think we should complain about that. "We have some players who are at good teams in Europe and we still have a chance to reach the next round." Serbia's strength has been evident for some time now. In topping a qualifying group that contained France, they gave notice that in South Africa, they will not be an easy touch. Throughout the squad they have a touch of class, with Vidic the obvious magnet, willing to throw his body into the toughest of scrapes. No one au-fait with the Premier League will have any doubt over Vidic's willingness to put his body on the line in the search for national glory. It has not escaped his notice either that a potential second-round meeting with England awaits in the last 16 if Serbia make it through. Four years ago there was uproar when Cristiano Ronaldo produced his infamous wink as Wayne Rooney was making his way off, having been sent off in the quarter-final with Portugal. Ronaldo's defence was that in his country's cause, club friendships had to be set aside. If that is true of Ronaldo, Vidic can hardly be expected to have a different reaction. In fact, the shock would be if Vidic were not prepared to give 'Wazza' a friendly tap now and then just to let England's star man know he was there. "Wayne is definitely the best striker in the world," said Vidic. "And after sharing the same dressing-room, it would be fun to play against him. "I mentioned to him that if we got through we have a chance to meet England. I said it would be an interesting game. "He said 'Serbia? Who plays for them?'. He was joking. "One of us would have to lose and he's a great player, who would be hard to keep quiet. But that's the challenge. That's why you play football. "He knows we're doing well and he knows we're not an easy team, even though England are a big one."
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