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Serbia should reach last 16 says FA Chief

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -- Serbian Football Association president Tomislav Karadzic has targeted reaching the last 16 at the World Cup and said getting any further would be a big plus.

Karadzic said he was confident that the Serbs, who arrived in South Africa on Tuesday for the month-long tournament, would at least reach the knockout stage.

"We are delighted to be here because qualifying for the World Cup is a great achievement in itself but our ambitions are to reach the last 16 of the tournament," he told Reuters.

"Anything beyond that would be a great bonus but you never know what can happen, a lot of things need to fall into place in a major tournament for any team to do well."

The weary looking Serbian team trudged off to their rooms after checking into the Sunnyside Park hotel, where staff welcomed them with a traditional "Shosholoza" song and dance.

Serbia, who plays its opening Group D match against Ghana in Pretoria on Sunday, was among the last teams to arrive in South Africa but Karadzic, who cut a much more relaxed figure than the players, did not think that would be a problem.

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"The climate here is very similar to the one we had during our week-long build up in Austria and I don't think adapting to the weather conditions will be an issue," he said.

"The important thing is that the team spirit is high, the players and staff are delighted with the reception we've been given and we are also looking forward to the support we will get from up to 8,000 Serbian expatriates living here."

Coach Radomir Antic also showed no signs of fatigue from the overnight flight via Munich and was confident South Africa would be outstanding hosts of the first World Cup on African soil.

"It was magnificent to hear the tunes of an ancient Serbian battlesong along with the Shosholoza," he said.

"Our form improved gradually during the warm-up games and I am confident we can live up to expectations at home."

Serbia, who has reached its first major tournament as an independent nation, also plays three-time winners Germany in Port Elizabeth on June 18 and Australia in Nelspruit five days later.