Ergic included in Serbia-Montenegro side

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Uncapped midfielder Ivan Ergic was the surprise inclusion in Serbia-Montenegro's 23-man squad announced for the World Cup.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro:

Uncapped midfielder Ivan Ergic was the surprise inclusion in Serbia-Montenegro's 23-man squad announced for the World Cup. The Australian-born Ergic was called up by coach Ilija Petkovic as a possible backup for Zvonimir Vukic, who has missed much of the season with a foot injury. Ergic plays for Swiss side Basel. ''He was surprised, indeed,'' assistant coach Goran Stevanovic said. "But he is a fine young player, I have followed him a lot.'' Ergic's career was nearly ruined by mononucleosis. ''Although some questions remain about Vukic's fitness, he played most of our qualification matches and he's one of our main players in the midfield,'' Petkovic said. The team also has Dejan Stankovic of Inter Milan in midfield. Petkovic chose his standard four defenders - Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic, Schalke's Mladen Krstajic, Dinamo Kiev's Goran Gavrancic and Seville's Ivica Dragutinovic. The defence conceded only one goal in World Cup qualifiers. ''The chosen ones have shown superb qualities in the qualifiers,'' Petkovic said. Also included were defender Dusan Basta of Red Star Belgrade and striker Mirko Vucinic of Lecce, who will both also take part in the Under-21 European Championship later this month. In attack, Petkovic included 2.02-meter-tall (6-foot-6) striker Nikola Zigic who, the coach believes, could be a major force at the championships. The other forwards are Mateja Kezman of Atletico Madrid, Savo Milosevic of Osasuna and Danijel Ljuboja of Stuttgart. Serbia-Montenegro plays in Group C with title contenders Argentina and the Netherlands, and African powerhouse Ivory Coast. Formerly known as Yugoslavia, the team last qualified for the World Cup in 1998, reaching the round of 16 before being beaten by the Netherlands. Serbia-Montenegro earned its eighth trip to soccer's biggest event, but the first - and probably last - under the new name. Montenegro is likely to split from Serbia in an independence referendum on May 21. Squad:Goalkeepers: Dragoslav Jevric, Oliver Kovacevic, Vladimir Stojkovic. Defenders: Goran Gavrancic, Ivica Dragutinovic, Nemanja Vidic, Nenad Djordjevic, Dusan Basta, Mladen Krstajic, Milan Dudic. Modfielders: Dejan Stankovic, Igor Duljaj, Ognjen Koroman, Albert Nadj, Ivan Ergic, Zvonimir Vukic, Predrag Djordjevic, Sasa Ilic. Forwards: Savo Milosevic, Mateja Kezman, Danijel Ljuboja, Mirko Vucinic, Nikola Zigic. (AP)