Serbia cuts goalkeeper Brkic to make 23

Published Jun. 1, 2010 2:11 p.m. EDT

Serbia coach Radomir Antic cut Vojvodina Novi Sad goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic from the final World Cup squad on Tuesday.

Antic took four goalkeepers to a training camp in Austria but decided to leave Brkic out of the 23-man squad that will travel to the tournament in South Africa.

"I had to leave one player out and such a decision is never easy to make. I told Zeljko that being in the training camp should be a stimulus for his career and that I still will count on him," Antic told reporters Tuesday, according to Tanjug news agency.

Goalkeeping is considered to be one of Serbia's weak points. Vladimir Stojkovic, who is regarded as the No. 1, has struggled to make the team at both Sporting Lisbon and later on loan at Wigan in the Premier League this season.


Dejan Stankovic, who plays for Champions League winner Inter Milan, will captain "The Eagles", who take on Germany, Ghana and Australia in Group D.

The squad also includes defenders Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United and Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea, as well as CSKA Moscow winger Zeljko Krasic and Milan Jovanovic of Standard Liege.

Recent Birmingham signing Nikola Zigic is one of the four strikers.

Antic had earlier cut the Chelsea pair Slobodan Rajkovic and Nemanja Matic from his provisional squad of 30, and also left out Ajax forward Miralem Sulejmani, PSV Eindhoven defender Jagos Vukovic, Partizan Belgrade midfielder Nemanja Tomic and Red Star Belgrade striker Dejan Lekic.

The only two players included who play in the Serbian league are Vojvodina striker Dragan Mrdja and Partizan midfielder Radosav Petrovic.

Serbia will play Poland in a friendly in Austria on Wednesday as it looks to redeem itself after losing 1-0 to New Zealand in a warmup over the weekend.


Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (Sporting Lisbon), Bojan Isailovic (Zaglebie Lubin), Andjelko Djuricic (Uniao Leiria).

Defenders: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), Antonio Rukavina (1860 Munich), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), Aleksandar Lukovic (Udinese), Ivan Obradovic (Real Zaragoza), Aleksandar Kolarov (Lazio).

Midfielders: Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan), Gojko Kacar (Hertha Berlin), Nenad Milijas (Wolverhampton), Zdravko Kuzmanovic (Stuttgart), Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade), Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow), Zoran Tosic (Manchester United), Milos Ninkovic (Dynamo Kiev), Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liege).

Forwards: Nikola Zigic (Birmingham), Marko Pantelic (Ajax), Danko Lazovic (Zenit St. Petersburg), Dragan Mrdja (Vojvodina Novi Sad).