Since January, SI.com has profiled two World Cup teams a week. We conclude all 32 with Serbia and Montenegro. Click here for the full archive.
FIFA world ranking: No. 46.
How they qualified for Germany: Beat out Spain for the top spot in UEFA Group 7 with a 6-0-4 record, becoming one of eight European teams to remain undefeated throughout the qualifying campaign.
Previous World Cups: First appearance, but it made seven trips under the Yugoslavian flag (1930, '50, '58, '62, '74, '90, '98).
Manager:Ilija Petkovic, third year with team.
Of all the European sides, Serbia and Montenegro arguably is the one fans have heard the least about. Yet the Serbs feature some recognizable names in attack, including influential Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic and Atlético Madrid striker Mateja Kezman (formerly of PSV and Chelsea). Kezman led the side with five goals during Cup qualifying. But make no mistake: The crown jewel of this side is its back four, marshaled by Mladen Krstajic (of German side Schalke 04), Goran Gavrancic and winter Manchester United signing Nemanja Vidic.
It's the chief reason the Serbian flag will fly at the World Cup for the first time, and why Serbian manager Petkovic is confident that his side has a good chance to survive the first round ... even if it's not his preferred style of football.
"If relying on a rock-solid defense is the right strategy to do well, then I won't change it," Petkovic told reporters last month. "However, that doesn't mean we are a defensive team. We have a creative midfield and modern strikers, we are a team used to having a go at the opposition."
What to watch for
Just how good is Serbia's defense? Here's one thing you likely will not see a lot of: the ball in goalkeeper Dragoslav Jevric's net. Airtight, workmanlike and organized, the Serbs allowed an astounding one goal in 10 matches during European qualification (to Spanish striker Raúl).
That trait is critical to Serbia's hopes of surviving a brutal Group C, one that features deadly strikers Lionel Messi (Argentina), Arjen Robben and Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands) and Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast). Serbia is the most overlooked team in the entire tournament -- thanks in large part to its unkind draw into the "Group of Death" -- but its stellar defense gives it an outside shot of pulling off another shocking run in Germany.
Group: C (Argentina, Ivory Coast, Netherlands).
Key match in group stage: June 11 vs. Netherlands. Getting off to a good start is crucial for the Serbs, but they'll have to do it without the suspended Vidic. A surprise three points in the opener in Leipzig against the Dutch likely means they only would need to beat the Ivory Coast in the group finale to advance.