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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Serbia players angry over tactics
Savo Milosevic holds off Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Savo Milosevic of Serbia and Montenegro (right) holds off Holland's Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
Serbia and Montenegro players have criticised coach Ilija Petkovic for his negative tactics as they slumped 1-0 to Holland in their Group C opener.

Angry winger Ognjen Koroman, said: "If we had attacked them from the start, we could have scored.

"We also might have lost by several goals but at least it wouldn't have been in such a cowardly fashion."

Substituted striker Mateja Kezman admitted: "Either we start attacking, or we're out of the World Cup."

Serbia looked more adventurous after winger Koroman came on for Nenad Djordjevic and Igor Duljaj moved to right back.

But Koroman said he could not understand the manager's surprise decision to leave him out of the starting line-up.

The Dutch team was ripe for a defeat but we blew it by respecting them too much."

Serbia and Montenegro defender Ivica Dragutinovic

"I don't know quite why we had to be so defensive from the start and I feel we would have done better with a more adventurous formation," he said.

"I am baffled with the coach's decision to keep me on the bench but I can't discuss that.

"It's going to be very difficult now but we have to keep our heads up.

"But if we play with such a starting formation against Argentina in our next match, we stand no chance. That's not only my opinion, but also of several other players."

Defender Ivica Dragutinovic added: "To beat such a strong team like Holland you need a little luck. But to deserve some luck you need to attack.

"We didn't do that in the first half. This Dutch team was ripe for a defeat but we blew it by respecting them too much."

Former Chelsea striker Kezman, now at Atletico Madrid, was also furious as Petkovic took him out of the game in the 67th minute and questioned why a forward was being replaced when the team was losing.

"We'll start more offensively the next game - we now have no alternative.

Serbia and Montenegro coach Ilija Petkovic

"Petkovic made the decision and it is his right," Kezman said. "But changing a striker when the team was down is a bit strange."

The coach admitted he got his tactics wrong against the Dutch but insisted: "We'll start more offensively the next game - we now have no alternative."

And reflecting on Arjen Robben's first-half winner, he added: "We make one mistake and were punished for it.

"It's a real pity. We had our own chances but we couldn't take them but there is still hope for us."

Petkovic refused to admit that surprise right-back selection Nenad Djordjevic should take the blame for allowing Robben to break-away and score the winner.

"Djordjevic was not at fault for the goal so leave that issue alone," he said. "Players like Robben are hard to contain, he is in an exceptionally good player."



SEE ALSO
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07 Jun 06 |  World Cup 2006
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Robben plots more Dutch heroics
11 Jun 06 |  Holland
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06 Jun 06 |  Serbia & Montenegro
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22 May 06 |  Serbia & Montenegro
Pick your Serbia & Montenegro XI
31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
World Cup schedule
25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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