Coach Radomir Antic was quick to switch his focus towards how to save Serbia's FIFA World Cup™ campaign after the "big blow" of losing their opening match against Ghana.

Serbia, playing in their first FIFA World Cup finals as an independent nation, slumped to a 1-0 defeat in their Group D curtain-raiser after going down to a late penalty in Pretoria. That result, which saw the Balkan nation play the final 14 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Aleksandar Lukovic, means Serbia now have a mountain to climb to qualify for the last 16.

"This is a big blow for us, to start the World Cup with a defeat is a bad thing," admitted Antic, who preferred to look forward than dwell on the loss.

"We have two more games, and now this is something that is behind us and we are looking towards playing against Germany and Australia. We wanted to have a good start but unfortunately this didn't happen and we will use all our energy to be positive for the next game."

Next up for Serbia is a testing clash with group favourites Germany in Port Elizabeth on Friday. Asked if that game was now a must-win match, Antic said: "It's difficult to say, obviously we've started with a defeat so now we must prepare in a different way to face Germany."

Regarding the match against Ghana, in which Serbia lost Lukovic to a second booking in the 74th minute and then 10 minutes later conceded the match-winning penalty scored by Asamoah Gyan, Antic felt Ghana had produced little to worry his side before the goal.

We wanted to have a good start but unfortunately this didn't happen and we will use all our energy to be positive for the next game.

Serbia coach Radomir Antic is left disappointed after his side's opening match defeat to Ghana in Pretoria.

"During the game I didn't notice that Ghana had some real opportunities to score before the penalty," said the vastly-experienced coach, who dismissed suggestions his side only started to play after Lukovic's red card.

In the five minutes following that incident Serbia went close through Milos Krasic, Nemanja Vidic and Branislav Ivanovic, but Antic did not feel they played better with 10 men.

"I respect everyone's opinion of course but I think we played the right game during the opening 45 minutes, considering our opponents," he said.

Another man hoping the European nation can bounce back from their defeat and make it through to the last 16 is Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac, a Serbian himself and a friend of Antic.

He said: "Serbia are a very good team with very good individual players. I hope Serbia obtain six points in their next two games. I'm sorry for the Serbian team, I know plenty of its players and I could see how much they were saddened by the defeat. I tried to stay concentrated on my team and tried to perform my duties in a professional manner.

"Maybe we got lucky, Serbia are a very dangerous team and it's very difficult to play against Serbia and as I said, I wish them all the luck in the forthcoming games."

Rajevac also predicts a bright future for Serbia, adding: "Plenty of Serbian players play at the greatest European clubs and it is certain that Serbia has huge potential and a better future is awaiting them."

Regarding his own side's immediate future, Rajevac believes their next match against Australia on Saturday is vital.

"We have to prepare well because for us this is the most important game,"