Serbia & Montenegro meet Holland in what promises to be an intriguing Group C encounter.
With Argentina overcoming a tenacious Ivory Coast side on Saturday night, both sides will be looking for the three points in Leipzig.
With Holland coach Marco van Basten fielding an enterprising 4-3-3 system with two wingers, the onus will be on the forwards to break down Serbia and Montenegro’s a resilient defence that conceded just one goal in 10 qualifying games.
“They (the team) will play to win,” said van Basten, who took over the reins from Dick Advocaat following Euro 2004 when the Dutch went out in the semi-finals.
“What I know about Serbia and Montenegro is that they play a classic 4-4-2 system with two dangerous strikers.
“We are convinced they are a very difficult opponent, with a good defence in the qualifiers. They’re strong and organised and it’ll be tough.”
Rafael van der Vaart and Gio van Bronckhorst are expected to be fit along with veteran Philip Cocu and Wesley Sneijder.
Ruud van Nistelrooy will play up front and will be supported by Chelsea’s Arjen Robben.
Serbia and Montenegro captain Savo Milosevic admitted that he and his fellow players were raring to get their World Cup campaign unerway.
“We just can’t wait,” said Milosevic.
“We’ve all had difficult seasons behind us, playing 10 or 11 months, then we had three weeks in a hotel training, and another three weeks here training, so we’re ready to play now,” said the 32-year-old Osasuna striker.
“We know how to defend but also to attack. We’re ready for them.”
Coach Ilija Petkovic is expected to play Goran Gavrancic in place of the suspended Nemanja Vidic, with midfielder Igor Duljaj dropping to full-back in a defensive reshuffle.
The countries (Serbia & Montenegro in the form of the former Yugoslavia) have met on nine occasions with the Dutch leading 5-3 on the head-to-head count.
Holland: van der Sar, Heitinga, Ooijer, Mathijsen, van Bronckhorst, van Bommel, Sneijder, Cocu, van Persie, van Nistelrooy, Robben.
Serbia & Montenegro: Jevric, Duljaj, Gavrancic, Krstajic, Dragutinovic, Nadj, Stankovic, Djordjevic, Koroman, Kezman, Milosevic.
Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)