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World Cup Preview: Group D

The World Cup begins in exactly ten days, and we are officially excited. Starting June 11, there's nonstop historic action, all day: From 7:30 a.m. on, you have every excuse to pretty much take the whole summer off. We continue our World Cup coverage today with our preview of Group D. (See our Group E, Group F, Group G, and Group H previews.) So, here's all you need to know about Group D, which features Australia, Germany, Ghana, and Serbia.

GROUP D

FIFA Rankings
No. 6: Germany
No. 15: Serbia
No. 20: Australia
No. 32: Ghana

Best World Cup Finish
Australia: Second round (2006)
Germany: Winners (1954, 1974, 1990, as West Germany)
Ghana: Second round (2006)
Serbia: Fourth place (1950, 1962, as Yugoslavia)

Best Player
Australia: Tim Cahill, midfielder.
Germany: Miroslav Klose, striker.
Ghana: Sulley Muntari, midfielder.
Serbia: Dejan Stankovic, midfielder.

Coach (and Sideline Garb)
Australia: Pim Verbeek. A Dutchman who was previously an assistant for South Korea, he's now heading the Socceroos. This is an experienced team that people generally believe coaches itself. (Suit and tie.)
Germany: Joachim Löw. Somewhat unpopular with star player Michael Ballack, he doesn't have to worry about subterfuge anymore; Ballack was injured in the FA Cup Final. (Coat, scarf.)
Ghana: Milovan Rajevac. A surprise hire, in part because of the language barrier he continues to face with his players. (Polo shirt.)
Serbia: Radomir Antic. The only man to coach FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atlético Madrid, this is his first World Cup team. He also once had to pay 12,000 Euro for calling another coach a "Nazi." (Suit and tie.)

Broadcaster-Worthy Anecdote
Australia: The most experienced team in the nation's history probably gives Oceania its best chance for a deep advancement in the tourney. Some American analyst is gonna bring up Paul Hogan, too. One always does.
Germany: In every World Cup of the last decade, Germany is underrated and ultimately makes a run into the semis. Everyone's down on them again this year. Also: The guy who hurt Ballack is playing for Ghana.
Ghana: Speaking of injuries, Ghana is still reeling from the loss of star midfielder Michael Essien.
Serbia: One of the more popular tournament dark horses, their friendly loss to New Zealand has everyone concerned.

Schedule
June 13, 10 a.m.: Serbia vs. Ghana
June 13, 2:30 p.m.: Germany vs. Australia
June 18, 7:30 a.m.: Germany vs. Serbia
June 19, 10 a.m.: Ghana vs. Australia
June 23, 2:30 p.m.: Germany vs. Ghana
June 23, 2:30 p.m.: Serbia vs. Australia

Prediction
1. Germany
2. Serbia
3. Australia
4. Ghana

Previously:

World Cup Preview: Group E
World Cup Preview: Group F
World Cup Preview: Group G
World Cup Preview: Group H

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Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images, Oliver Lang/AFP/Getty Images, Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images (2)