7.10pm: Preamble: G'day, zdravo and hello. Welcome to another nipper. Both of these teams have a chance of going through this evening: the Serbs, who were pretty good against Germany; and Australia, who have seemed surprisingly fraught and tearful throughout. In fact all four teams in this group have a shot at the knockout stage. It should be intriguing.
7.13pm: And here are the teams: Australia Schwarzer, Wilkshire, Beauchamp, Neill, Carney, Culina, Valeri, Emerton, Cahill, Bresciano, Kennedy. Serbia Stojkovic, Ivanovic, Vidic, Lukovic, Obradovic, Stankovic, Kuzmanovic, Ninkovic, Krasic, Jovanovic, Zigic.
7.14pm: Two strong lineups, although you do worry about the Socceroos ability to score a goaleroo.
7.15pm: Odd thing before this game, Australia getting so worried about being perceived as "whingers". It really does seem to bother some of the players. Tempting to wonder if whingeing is perhaps the acme of all things seen as un-Australian, hence the whingeing pom slur. The equivalent of calling an Englishman excitable or an American quiet and reflective. Is that right? Quite funny either way, because they have whinged a bit.
7.17pm: Incidentally, the ref is from Uruguay. Do they like Australians when it comes to football? Hmmm.
7.21pm: Still, I have a feeling Australia will be better this evening. They have plenty of talent in there. Cahill will be supremely motivated. I fancy we might see the corner flag duked before the evening is out. There is of course also the sub-plot of who England will play in the next round. So plenty of motivation there to top the group.
7.24pm: Anthems: the Aussies look suitably sombre, hands on heart.
7.25pm: Serbia grimace through theirs, all-aquiver. And on national slurs Radbert Grimmig notes: "Interesting. I had never considered the title of "The Quiet American" was meant to be an insult..."
7.27pm: Got to love Raddy Antic. He looks like a deranged but evangelical American door-to-door hair oil salesman of the 1950s.
1 min: Serbia kick off in red white and blue and immediately Australia give the ball away in their own half but the gangling Zigic is unable to feed Krasic, who would have been in there. A little shaky that. And Serbia look the more up for straight away.
3 mins: The Serbs do keep the ball nicely in midfield and deep areas. No hoofing it down the channels or trying to hit early passes all the time. They'll never get nowhere with that. Still a slow start from the Aussies, who are a team perhaps lacking in callow youthful exuberance. And Amit Gupta points out: "This is a grudge match since so many Australian soccer supporters and players are of Croatian origin. Growing up in Canberra there would always be stories of the Croatian Liberation Army [based in Australia] getting captured by Tito's troops." Cripes. Are we really going with that? Is this really true, or just a tempting idea?
6 mins: A sleepy start. Australia seem to be playing for a draw, for some reason. But wait, the blond Krasic has the first shot from the inside right channel, hitting it hard towards the near post, but Schwarzer can palm it round. He looks a handful Krasic, quick and direct. And also strangely 1980s, perhaps like a Stock Aitken and Waterman singing star with a collection of hits from 1986-8.
9 mins:More Aussie meandering around the halfway line. They seem to be looking for the hulking Kennedy with long passes. Vidic should be fine with that. And here's a Serb corner. Swung in left footed but Australia are very well provided for in the air and it's muddled clear. And James Wells is making a "hrrruunngg!!" noise in a lycra one-piece: "With that flowing blond mane, Krasic has a more than passing resemblance to that American nationalist icon, Hulk Hogan."
11 mins: First real Aussie attack as Cahill gets down the right wing and fluffs his cross, losing it to the first defender. But some progress at last. And now here's Carney on the left floating over a lovely cross,towards three men in the box, but Stankovic heads i away from Cahill for the first Aussie corner.
13 mins: Oh my, that was too easy. From the corner Serbia break the length of the pitch with a single pass and Krasic is right in on goal with just the keeper to beat. He goes a bit wide though and Schwarzer forces him to hoof it over the angle. He really should have scored there. Hulk Hogan would have been sorely let down by that effort. But also woefully loose defending from Australia.
16 mins: the Serbs have had a go at a long diagonal pass towards Milan Jovanovic on the left wing a few times but it hasn't worked yet. He's changed a lot since he was in the Fifth Element. And now they try another form the other side and Kuzmanovic controls the ball, jiggles forward and hits a shot that was always flying wide. Serbia are making all the running so far.
19 mins: Nice ball in from the jinky Jovanovic but Zigic, who is tall but also weirdly meek and ineffectual, can't even get a challenge on it. Lukovic is booked for leaping into Culina. Looked all right to me but that's the World Cup for you. Australia, let it be said, look really poor so far. England would surely deal with them quite easily, even on current form. Serbia on the other hand look decent; excellent on the ball.
22 mins: Some more pressure from Australia, although their game plan seems to be based on swinging in high crosses and threatening at set pieces, which leaves them vulnerable to the silky Serbian counter-attack. Which we have briefly glimpsed. Honestly. A slow-burner this, but they will have to pick it up you feel at some point.
23 mins: Which Serbia do and that is a great save from Schwarzer as Invanovic rampages through from full-back, lumbers on to a neat reverse flick and volleys it goalwards from six yards, only to see a strong left hand batting the ball away. Really good save but he should have scored there. Only one team in this right now.
26 mins: Krasic puts a cross on top of the net from deep on the right and this is a challenge for the Serbs. They need to win this and they need to make all this pressure pay. Australia may be limited but they are dogged too. Germany and Ghana is 0-0 too by the way.
29 mins: Blimey - and streuth - Australia have been poor so far and frankly they don't deserve to stay in this World Cup. Very cagey tactics so far fro a team desperate to win. Not usually the Aussie way. Meanwhile Serbia continue to huff elegantly without breaking through. the weirdly elongated Zigic is almost in form a ball over the top but offside. Ho hum. All building up to a massive crescendo no doubt.
32 mins: Emerton comes inside and feeds Bresciano on the left and his deep cross is headed back across goal by Cahill, leaping miles above several much taller men, and that was easily Australia's best chance. Cahill has 20 goals in 42 games for Aus. Top stuff even if most are against Fiji. On the ancestral grudge match dynamic Stephen Lusher writes: "It's true that in the early days of soccer in Australia the teams were mostly drawn from national/ethnic bases. It led to a lot of trouble on and off the field because of rivalries running to hatreds. It took a few goes at re-forming the league and finally we have a national league where teams are based on capital city (and major regional city) franchises and the ethnicity and nationalism has finally broken down. There are still a lot of players whose surnames end in 'ic'."
35 mins: Stankovic sprays it wide to Ivanovic and his lovely whipped cross is completely missed by Zigic (sorry Birmingham fans - but he really has looked poor here) as he flails wildly at it with his head and/or legs. That was a very good chance. Serbia should be ahead here. They are the better team by a distance right now.
37 mins: Serbia waste a decent chance to swing a free kick in to the box and Bresciano and Stankovic caper after the loose ball like two old, wheezing men having a slow running race. Moments later Jovanovic, who is a really nimble player, jinks inside and plays in Krasic with a lovely little dinked pass. He puts it in the net but he was offside. Very nice play however.
40 mins: Her come Australia! Bresciano gets the ball in a decent area and crosses for Cahill but Kennedy seems to get in his way and the chance is gone. That was better. They do have some muscle near goal. Still 0-0 however and that's not ideal for anyone here.
43 mins: More nice passing from Serbia and again the excellent Jovanovic crosses well, right into the six yard box but there is no one there. Zigic is off lumbering about somewhere else and you wonder what the point of him is if he's not getting on the end of those. Allan Peake flamin' galaha's: "Barney that would be 'streWth with a 'w'. And if you substitute 'crikey' for blimey you'll be auditioning for neighbours in no time. BTW is Ghana the last African team with a chance to go to the second round? If so I am sure the ref in their game will be under instruction to get a favourable result for there. So all we need to do is nick a goal toward the end and we'll get to face USA, group winners over the home country I believe?" Surely not. Such things don't happen. Do they?
45+1 mins: HALF TIME. Serbia continue to weave some nice patterns but without any real sense that they're destined to score. Kennedy had a decent chance with a header from a deep Emerton cross right at the end there. But no goals and not much from Australia so far. Serbia will need to keep going with more of the same. Back in ten mins.
8.29pm: On conspiracies Michael Dear notes: "If the ref is under any pressure to get a result, it'll be for Germany to get through because the tournament will be a TV ratings disaster otherwise."
8.29pm: Ava Lawrence blimeys: "The way this match is going isn't going to bring much cheer to the poor old Aussie PM, Rudd, who looks like he's not going to survive a leadership challenge today". And Jay Rose is madder than a drongo in a dingo's hem de hem :"It's "galah", not "galaha". Even the Tellie got it wrong: "Gallah". Atrocious. I hope those are excitement-induced typos." Not from this match, Jay.
46 mins: Australia kick off again and they've won a free kick right away in a really decent position on the left. Bresciano drills it in and it's hacked clear by Vidic. That's more like. On the perplexing Zigic Frank in Valencia snickers: "Don't apologise to Blues fans for your very accurate summary of Zigic's abilities - you're doing them a favour by preparing them for the season to come. All the talk of the Blues signing a player from a Valencia team that has qualified for the Champions league failed to mention that he was only ever considered good enough to start in the cup games against 3rd division teams, and the club have been trying to offload him to anybody (and would probably have accepted a free transfer!) for 2 years. As a Valencia fan I still haven't stopped laughing about the money we've received ...jejejeje!"
49 mins: Australia haven't had anyone sent off yet so that's good. They do look more positive too. Although that's not saying much. Beauchamp is booked for a hefty trip on Krasic. Wilkshire is then booked for a foul too. So they're getting closer. And Andrew James quibbles: "It might be 'unAustralian' to say it, but I'm almost hoping we do go out in the group stage. Not enough quality in the side, and at least it'll shut up the incessantly positive Australian commentators who think 'we look dangerous'. Pfft. We need a manager with the suave dress sense of Low to get the best out of the players, rather than the staid black tie combo of Verbeek."
52 mins: The Aussies are pressing a bit higher up the field this half, which is a good thing as it might well be their last for some time. Serbia have yet to get their swing back completely. Lots of the ball but no real forward motion. And Allan Peake soap-boxes: "Aussie PM Kevin Rudd deserves to go - his use of slang is terrible - last year he said 'fair shake of the sauce bottle' three times in one interview in an effort to connect with the common people - who unfortunately had never even heard the phrase."
54 mins: Great chance for Zigic!... And yes, it's gone some way over the bar. To be fair it was a difficult bouncing ball, as he took a cross from Jovanovic on his strangely small head and wiffled in on goal, before blasting the loose ball over. Decent opening though and Jovanovic is a really good winger on this evidence. Liverpool fans will be hoping he's theirs.
57 mins: Decent chance for Austrlia too as Culina drills a shot in from 30 yards, good technique with the bouncing ball and it skitters through not too far wide of the post. Might have got a deflection in quite easily. Down the other end Jovanovic leaves Emerton for dead but can't find space in the box and the ball runs out of play. And Paul Lobban is also pretending he's more interested in The Politicsaroo: "If Australia do go out at least they won't be front page news - the Prime Minster faces a leadership challenge in about 3 hours and is likely to lose, giving us our first female PM. A small positive for him is that he won't have to make an insincere statement of condolence to the team. That must be some comfort. Or not."
60 mins: The snarling Minkovic is booked for terrible sliding hack at Wilkshire and from the free kick Bresciano makes Stojkovic scramble across to save well low down. Australia are dominant now. Who would have thought it? Serbia have simply run out of steam for the moment.
63 mins: Krasic tries to get something going down the right but his cross is cut out by Neill easily and Australia launch a counter-attack that sees Vidic blocking Emerotn's shot. Moments later Cahil has a really decent header from a deep cross but it's right at the keeper. Very encouraging from the Aussies but, oh dear, Germany have scored against Ghana. 1-0 there as Tosic comes on for Krasic here.
66 mins: So... As it stands Germany would go through as group leaders. Serbia now need to win this. Australia continue to push as Bresciano brings another scrambling save from the shaky Stojkovic. A real turnaround here as the gold and green tide pours forward where once it ambled geriatrically. Chipperfield is now on for Bresciano.
69 mins: Emerton is booked for a two-footed lunge at Minkovic that might have got a red if he hadn't also got a lot of the ball. And Zigic is off: he manages to find the bench OK. Pantelic is on and he's a tall, effete, Alice band sporting target man.
69 mins: AUSTRALIA SCORE! Tim Cahill gets it with - guess what - a header. It's a deep cross in from the right and he rises above two players to head it brilliantly into the net from the penalty spot. And yes he does also duke it out with the corner flag. World class finish from Cahill and Serbia are going out of the World Cup here.
72 mins: Oddly Serbia are now bottom of this group, despite having beaten Germany. They're attacking now, albeit a little frantically. And Germany will be playing England if it stays like this. John McLauchlin writes "Pim Verbeek's is the real second choice Stheve or rather second choice Pim. After a country is unable to convince Guus Hiddink to continue as coach, they seek out Mr.Verbeek. Expect to see him as Turkey's manager after he is sacked by Morocco by the end of the year."
74 mins: A weak corner from Tosic is easily headed away by Emerton. Serbia have no option but to attack here. As do Australia. Both are going out as it stands.
74 mins: AUSTRALIA GET ANOTHER: 2-0. It's a lovely strike from distance by Holman, picking the ball up, not closed down and he pouts it in the bottom corner. Great goal and Australia are making up a bit of ground in goal difference. They still need a few more. But great spunk from the Socceroos right now.
77 mins: Ava Lawrence writes: "OK, now I'm awake". And well she might be. Australia have been so much better in this half while Serbia have simply faded away. It is surely over now for Serbia, but it might still be intriguing watching the perky, bounding Aussies chase a downcast opposition down here.
80 mins: Australia still need to make up two goals by the way and they're still attacking. Holman has been excellent coming on from the bench, much more energetic and direct in midfield. Still a chance. A feint one but it's still there.
83 mins: Wilkshire humps a fruitless long ball forward into the box when he might have taken the ball on. That was a shame although he seems to have a groin injury too. Jason in Indianapolis writes: "Just got a text from a friend who is watching in a Chicago pub, wearing a Ghana jersey (not a big fan, it was a gift). Since the first Australia goal, he's been getting the stink-eye from a table full of Serbs. I suggested that he position himself as close to the door as possible before the final whistle. Any advice?" Football is here to build bridges and make friends. Offer them a garland of flowers. Garcia is on for Wilkshire.
84 mins: The Serbs have faded totally here and the Aussies may have had their moment. It's all gone a bit scrappy.
84 mins: SERBIA SCORE! But wait! It's 2-1 now as Pantelic pounces on a mistake by Schwarzer, who spills a daisy-cutter from Tosic at his feet. Neat finish and now they just need one more of those.
86 mins: Cripes, Pantelic has the ball in the net again but it's ruled out for offside. that was incredibly close. Inches in it. What a finish we've got here. It might have all come to life a little too late here but still good to see some wild-eyed urgency.
87 mins: Now Kennedy misses from eight yards, falling over as he tries to make space and scuffing it wide. He's not quite got it in front of goal the big man.
90 mins: Some frantic Serbian defending and the ball is finally hacked clear. They break in search of that single goal that would put them above Ghana. They win a corner but it's narrowly past the post after an almighty scramble. What a finish!
90+2 mins: Lazovic makes a wonderful surging break down the right and puts over a lovely cross but Pantelic just can't get his head to it at the far post. Decent chance that but the morass of yellow shirts hump it clear. Moments later Pantelic is in again, latching on to a decent cross in from Tosic and hoofing it over the bar from ten yards. He was offside. But still. Unexpectedly thrilling stuff here.
90+3 mins: FULL TIME. It's all over and both teams go out of the World Cup. A fine last half hour ends in mutual disappointment. The Serbs are besieging the ref claiming they should have had a penalty in a scramble late on but it's all quite pointless really. So Germany and Ghana go through and that's all from me for now. Thanks for your emails. Barney.
This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.