Group D consists of teams Germany, Ghana, Serbia and Australia. While Germany is a favourite thanks to a strong qualifying run, the rest of the cast in the group are a crack outfit.
Germany, whose playing style has historically been built on organisation and efficiency, has adopted an English style of direct play, wing movements and pressing opposing teams high up the pitch.
Collectively, Ghana, Serbia and Australia are a tougher lot than the supporting cast from the Groups A, B and C. Ghana is the first African team to make the World Cup. Serbia ran past France in their qualifying group to reach the World Cup.
Fresh from an impressive outing in the 2006 World Cup, Australia has benefited from a set of best practices left by previous coach Guus Hiddink. He taught them how to organise themselves as a team on the pitch and gave several players struggling with form and injures self-belief to step back into the game, a complete departure from the teams of the earlier World Cups.
As the tournament draws closer, several events could make the group an even more open affair. The injury jinx has struck Germany and Ghana. Both teams have lost midfield generals Michael Ballack and Michael Essien. Both are leaders of their respective teams on and off the field.
Serbia suffered a dip in form in the recent round of friendly matches, drawing Poland and losing to New Zealand, though a win over Cameroon might have restored some confidence.
But what about Australia? The team does have a host of players who ply their trade in various European leagues, but without Hiddink, the best they can hope for is to spring a surprise on the other three teams and steal into the second round.
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