2010 Fifa World Cup team statistics

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• Jermaine Craig, Media Manager
2010 Fifa World Cup
Local Organising Committee
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Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Denmark … Get to know the 32 teams competing in South Africa’s 2010 Fifa World Cup: the matches they’ll be playing, their past performances in the tournament, their countries as footballing nations and much more.

 

Algeria Argentina
Australia Brazil
Cameroon Chile
Côte d’Ivoire Denmark
England France
Germany Ghana
Greece Honduras
Italy Japan
Mexico Netherlands
New Zealand Nigeria
North Korea Paraguay
Portugal Serbia
Slovakia Slovenia
South Africa South Korea
Spain Switzerland
Uruguay USA

 

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ALGERIA (ALG)

Algeria: Group C matches

  • England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Algeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Slovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • England vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Slovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • USA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Algeria: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1982
  • Previous World Cups: 2
  • Best World Cup progress: Groups stages in 1982, 1986
  • Total World Cup matches: 6
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 2 / 1 / 3
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 33%

Algeria: Footballing nation

Algeria: Overview

Algeria will end a 24-year absence from football’s top table when they kick their first ball at the 2010 Fifa World Cup. This will mark their third appearance at a World Cup and they are looking to graduate from the group stage for the first time ever.

In 1982, they made history by defeating West Germany 2-1 and Chile 3-2, only to lose 2-0 to Austria. Four years on from their debut, they shared a 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland before losing 1-0 to Brazil and 3-0 to Spain.

They earned a place in this year’s World Cup with a 1-0 victory against African champions Egypt in Khartoum, Sudan. Algeria are in Group C, where they will be up against England, the US and Slovenia.

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ARGENTINA (ARG)

Argentina: Group B matches

  • Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • South Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Argentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Greece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Nigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Greece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Argentina: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 14
  • Best World Cup progress: Winners 1978, 1986
  • Total World Cup matches: 65
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 33 / 13 / 19
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 51%

Argentina: Footballing nation

Argentina: Overview

Argentina had a difficult qualifying campaign. The two-time world champions started the campaign under leadership of coach Alfio Basile, but a defeat to Chile relegated them to third place. Coaching was then taken over by former player Diego Armando Maradona.

After going down Chile, Argentina fell to a humiliating 6-1 loss to Brazil, their second-ever home qualifying loss. They tallied up six defeats in their fight to qualify. They recorded eight wins and four draws before scraping into the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Uruguay.

Despite a tortuous qualification campaign, Argentina is travelling to South Africa with serious plans to win the title for the first time in 24 years. To achieve that goal, the 1978 and 1986 world champions have pinned their faith in coach Maradona, the country’s most famous footballing son and the guiding hand behind the qualifying triumph.

Argentina was drawn in Group B to take on Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.

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AUSTRALIA (AUS)

Australia: Group D matches

  • Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Serbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Germany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Ghana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Ghana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Australia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Australia: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1974
  • Previous World Cups: 2
  • Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 2006
  • Total World Cup matches: 7
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 2 / 4
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 14%

Australia: Footballing nation

  • Association: Football Federation Australia
  • Year association founded: 1961
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1963
  • Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • Population: 21-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 971 000
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 4.6%
  • Professional footballers: 200

Australia: Overview

Australia has appeared on the world stage just twice, but is now making up for lost time by claiming a second consecutive qualification.

After a 32-year absence from the tournament, Australia made a strong statement at the 2006 Fifa World Cup, reaching the knockout stage where it took a last-minute goal from eventual champions Italy to eliminate the team. The current squad, led by Pim Verbeek from the Netherlands, is an experienced group featuring many of the Germany 2006 players.

The Australians finished top of their group overcoming some of the best Asian teams to be one of the first nations to book their place in South Africa. They will be playing in Group D against Germany, Serbia and Ghana.

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BRAZIL (BRA)

Brazil: Group G matches

  • Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Côte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Brazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Portugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • North Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Portugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, Durban

Brazil: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 18
  • Best World Cup progress: Winners 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002
  • Total World Cup matches: 92
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 14 / 14 / 14
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 70%

Brazil: Footballing nation

Brazil: Overview

Brazil, the five-time world champions, go into every Fifa World Cup heavily favoured to add yet another star to the legendary yellow and blue jersey. Coach Carlos Dunga will be fully aware that any outcome other than a sixth world crown will likely be considered a failure.

In the qualifiers, the Brazillians clinched a South Africa 2010 berth with three match days to spare. Dunga’s team defeated arch-rivals Argentina 3-1 in Rosario to confirm their passage to South Africa.

Despite the Brazilian national team position being his first coaching role, Dunga answered those who doubted his credentials by guiding the team to triumph in the 2007 Copa America, the Fifa Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 and to qualifying for South Africa 2010 with room to spare.

The triumphant Confederations Cup 2009 campaign cemented Kaká, aka Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, as the man Brazil look to for inspiration. This fact was reflected in him taking the Adidas Golden ball, awarded to the best player of the tournament. Meanwhile, up front, Luis Fabiano proved himself a truly world-class finisher with five goals including a priceless brace in the 3-2 final win over the USA.

Brazil have been drawn into a tricky Group G to face Portugal, Côte d’Ivoire and North Korea. As hosts of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, Brazil are keen to take the trophy home to defend it on home turf.

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CAMEROON (CMR)

Cameroon: Group E matches

  • Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Japan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Netherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Cameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Denmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Cameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Cameroon: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1982
  • Previous World Cups: 5
  • Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1990
  • Total World Cup matches: 17
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 4 / 7 / 6
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 24%

Cameroon: Footballing nation

Cameroon: Overview

Having competed in the World Cup five times and ranked by Fifa as the top African country, Cameroon is a side to be watched in 2010. They are considered the continental-best. No other African side has beaten their historic run to the Italy 1990 quarter-finals.

Though their qualification-clinching 2-0 victory in Morocco was straightforward enough, Cameroon had a tough campaign. They were in the bottom of their group after two games before Paul Le Guen replaced Otto Pfister as coach.

Under the new leader they completed an impressive turnaround campaign with two victories in four days over contenders Gabon. This was followed by a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Togo, and Cameroon’s consecutive wins were more than enough to reach South Africa. The Cameroonians will be playing in Group E, taking on the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan.

Cameroon will be playing in the World Cup for the sixth time – a new African record.

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CHILE (CHI)

Chile: Group H matches

  • Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Spain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Spain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Chile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Switzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Chile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Chile: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 7
  • Best World Cup progress: Third-place semi-finalists in 1962
  • Total World Cup matches: 25
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 7 / 6 / 12
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 28%

Chile: Footballing nation

Chile: Overview

Chile last qualified for the Fifa World Cup 12 years ago in France. Coached by the experienced Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa, the Chileans qualified for the finals with some ease, making up for their poor performances in the qualifying competitions for Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006, when they finished ninth and seventh respectively.

Bielsa’s side finished second in the continental qualifying group, just one point behind Brazil – their best performance yet. They qualified for the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa with a spectacular 4-2 win in Colombia.

Chile will be taking part in the World Cup finals for the eighth time. They will be playing in Group H against Spain, Switzerland and Honduras.

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CÔTE D’IVOIRE (CIV)

Côte d’Ivoire: Group G matches

  • Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Côte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Brazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Portugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • North Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Portugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, Durban

Côte d’Ivoire: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 2006
  • Previous World Cups: 1
  • Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1962
  • Total World Cup matches: 3
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 0 / 2
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 33%

Côte d’Ivoire: Footballing nation

Côte d’Ivoire: Overview

If an African team is to make a major impact on the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire is seen by many as the most likely candidate. Led by coach Vahid Halilhodzic the team cemented their status as one of the continent’s powerhouses when they qualified for 2010 without losing a match.

The team feature top-drawer talent such as English Premier League striker Didier Drogba who plays for Chelsea FC and teammate Salomon Kalou – a tough duo up front. Didier Zokora, who plays for Spanish club Sevilla FC , and FC Barcelona’s Yaya Toure are formidable in the midfield. The England-based pair of Arsenal FC player Emmanuel Eboue and Manchester City FC’s Kolo Toure form one of the best defences in Africa.

Côte d’Ivoire also have a point to prove after being eliminated in the first round at Germany 2006. With more experience, this team is certain to be a handful in attack. They have been drawn into a tough Group H with Brazil, North Korea and Portugal.

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DENMARK (DEN)

Denmark: Group E matches

  • Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Japan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Netherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Cameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Denmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Cameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Denmark: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1986
  • Previous World Cups: 3
  • Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1988
  • Total World Cup matches: 13
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 7 / 2 / 4
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 54%

Denmark: Footballing nation

  • Association: Dansk Boldspil-Union
  • Year association founded: 1889
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1904
  • Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
  • Population: 5-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 511 000
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 9.3%
  • Professional footballers: 852

Denmark: Overview

After a six-year absence, Denmark is set to explode on the elite world footballing scene. The Fifa founder members blazed an impressive campaign battling against Portugal and Sweden in the European 2010 World Cup qualifying games. They came to top of their group, beating Sweden 1-0 to qualify.

Denmark will be looking to extend their creditable record at three previous World Cup appearances, where they reached the second elimination round twice and the quarter-finals on another occasion. In 1986 in Mexico they progressed to the last 16. The core of that team then went on to register the nation’s greatest footballing triumph with the 1992 Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) European Championship crown in neighbouring Sweden.

The Uefa European Football Championship is the main football competition of the men’s national football teams governed by Uefa. It has been held every four years since 1960. After winning the Uefa European Championships, the team went on to win the Fifa Confederations Cup in 1995.

South Africa will be Denmark’s fourth appearance at the Fifa World Cup. They will be playing in Group E with the Netherlands, Japan, and Cameroon.

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ENGLAND (ENG)

England: Group C matches

  • England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Algeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Slovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • England vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Slovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • USA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

England: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1950
  • Previous World Cups: 12
  • Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1966
  • Total World Cup matches: 55
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 25 / 17 / 13
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 46%

England: Footballing nation

  • Association: The Football Association
  • Year association founded: 1863
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1905
  • Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
  • Population: 61-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 4.2-million
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 6.8%
  • Professional footballers: 6 100

England: Overview

England swept into the finals with a 5-1 defeat of Croatia, making it their eighth victory in eight Group 6 matches. Coach Fabio Capello’s side ensured their progress to the finals with two matches to spare.

England captain John Terry said: “When we play like that, pressing and working the ball, we’re a difficult opposition for any side. Don’t forget, it’s taken a year for us to get this good, and we’ve got a way to go to get to where we ultimately want to be. But we’re on track.”

Dubbed English football’s golden generation, South Africa 2010 may be the last chance at international silverware for some of the most well-known faces in the game. The team fell short at the Uefa Euro 2004 and the 2006 Fifa World Cup Germany.

England has appeared at 11 previous editions of the global showpiece, debuting at Brazil 1950.

They were the winners on home soil in 1966, and displayed their best performance outside their own shores in Italy 1990, when they reached the last four. They were defeated in penalties by eventual winners West Germany.

The team are in Group C where they where they will play against the US, Algeria and Slovenia.

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FRANCE (FRA)

France: Group A matches

  • South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Uruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • South Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • France vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Mexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • France vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

France: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 12
  • Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1998
  • Total World Cup matches: 51
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 25 / 10 / 16
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 51%

France: Footballing nation

France: Overview

France had one of the most controversial qualification games. They finished a point behind Serbia in group seven and were paired with the Republic of Ireland in the play-offs. Led by coach Raymond Domenech they played to a 1-0 win in Ireland.

This was followed by a game of huge controversy. In the playoff game Ireland captain Robbie Keane scored a goal that levelled the tie at 1-1 on aggregate, leading to extra-time. William Gallas scored the disputed winning goal for France, which came from a handball pass from captain Thierry Henry.

The French are in Group A where they will play against South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay.

France won the World Cup as the host nation in 1998, and the European Football Championship in 1984 and in 2000. They also won the Fifa Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003. Despite a drop in standards in 2002 and 2006, France still came agonisingly close to winning the World Cup title again in Germany 2006, losing out on penalties to Italy in the final.

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GERMANY (GER)

Germany: Group D matches

  • Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Serbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Germany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Ghana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Ghana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Australia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Germany: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1934
  • Previous World Cups: 16
  • Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1954, 1974, 1990
  • Total World Cup matches: 92
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 55 / 19 / 18
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 60%

Germany: Footballing nation

  • Association: Deutscher Fussball-Bund
  • Year association founded: 1900
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1904
  • Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
  • Population: 82-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 16.3-million
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 19.8%
  • Professional footballers: 864

Germany: Overview

Three-time Fifa World Cup winners Germany have not missed a World Cup since 1950 and that record was extended as they booked their place to South Africa with a 1-0 win over group rivals Russia.

“We’ve been very successful in the past, and that’s an inspiration to the next generations,” said German fullback Philip Lahm.

“You only have to look at Germany’s record at major tournaments. We won the World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990, and the European Championship in 1972, 1980 and 1996.

“We’re definitely among a group of countries with a chance of taking the trophy. We were third at the World Cup and second at the Euro, so our goal for 2010 is to make the final and win the trophy.”

The 2006 Fifa World Cup hosts were drawn into Group D with Ghana, Serbia and Australia.

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GHANA (GHA)

Ghana: Group D matches

  • Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Serbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Germany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Ghana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Ghana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Australia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Ghana: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 2006
  • Previous World Cups: 1
  • Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 2006
  • Total World Cup matches: 4
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 2 / 0 / 2
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 50%

Ghana: Footballing nation

  • Association: Ghana Football Association
  • Year association founded: 1957
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1958
  • Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)
  • Population: 24-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 987 000
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 4.1%
  • Professional footballers: 0

Ghana: Overview

Ghana was the first African team to reach the 2010 World Cup from the qualifiers. The only African side to progress past the group stage at the 2006 Fifa World Cup Germany, Ghana is anxious to prove themselves as the cream of the continent.

Speaking to Fifa after the 2-0 qualifying game against Sudan, Ghana’s midfielder Michael Essien said: “The people of Ghana wanted us to win and we did not let them down. What a fantastic feeling to be the first African country to qualify for the first World Cup to be staged in Africa.”

Though this will be only their second appearance at the World Cup, the Ghanaians have enjoyed considerable success at all levels of international football. They have won four Confederation of African Football Africa Cup of Nations titles, as well as two Fifa U-17 World Cups.

In October 2009 they became the first African team to lift the Fifa U-20 World Cup when they beat Brazil on penalties. With added experience since their 2006 adventure, Ghana is set to be a major threat at Africa’s first Fifa World Cup. They will be playing in Group D against Germany, Australia and Serbia.

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GREECE (GRE)

Greece: Group B matches

  • Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • South Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Argentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Greece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Nigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Greece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Greece: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1994
  • Previous World Cups: 1
  • Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1994
  • Total World Cup matches: 3
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 0 / 3
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%

Greece: Footballing nation

Greece: Overview

The Uefa Euro 2004 champions, Greece continue to defy the odds to have clinched qualification for only their second Fifa World Cup finals.

The road to South Africa was tricky as they had to play European Zone play-offs against Ukraine, opponents who had taken four points from the Greeks in Group 2 qualifications for Germany 2006. This time around, after a 0-0 draw in Athens, Greece grabbed a 1-0 second-leg success in Donetsk.

There will be no shortage of experience for the Greeks when they come to South Africa. Chief among their veteran performers are defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who has played more qualifying minutes than any other squad member, and former Inter Milan and Benfica midfielder Karagounis.

They will also have top European Zone qualifying scorer Theofanis Gekas, and Angelos Charisteas, scorer of the winning goal in the final at Euro 2004.

Greece will be looking to advance past the group stages for the first time and surprise the world again, as they did at Euro 2004. They will be playing in Group B against Argentina, Nigeria and South Korea.

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HONDURAS (HON)

Honduras: Group H matches

  • Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Spain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Spain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Chile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Switzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Chile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Honduras: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1982
  • Previous World Cups: 1
  • Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1982
  • Total World Cup matches: 3
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 2 / 1
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%

Honduras: Footballing nation

Honduras: Overview

Despite having just squeezed into qualification, coach Reinaldo Rueda’s team will not be going to South Africa just to make up the numbers. Honduras will be playing in the Fifa World Cup for the second time since 1982.

Big-name stars in the the Honduran team include key striker Carlos Pavon, supported by the talented David Suazo, Wilson Palacios, Julio Leon and Amado Guevara. Pavon would love nothing more than to crown his top international career with a goal-laden showing on the biggest stage of all.

For Honduras, qualifying for the World Cup had become something of a recurring nightmare. They invariably fell short at key moments, until the arrival of 42-year-old Colombian strategist Rueda. In their road to South Africa, Honduras racked up an eight-game unbeaten home run and bolstered the best defensive record in the section.

After their bad luck in Spain in 1982, when they left the competition without a single win, Honduras are determined to put in a better showing in their second World Cup. They will be playing in Group H against Spain, Switzerland and Chile.

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ITALY (ITA)

Italy: Group F matches

  • Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • New Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Italy vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Slovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Slovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Paraguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Italy: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1934
  • Previous World Cups: 16
  • Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006
  • Total World Cup matches: 77
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 44 / 19 / 14
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 57%

Italy: Footballing nation

Italy: Overview

The World Cup defending champions, the Italians will be one of the leading contenders to emerge triumphant at the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Marcello Lippi’s men will be vying to match the performance of their pioneering predecessors in 1934 and 1938 by winning the tournament twice in succession.

Italy sealed the chance to defend their world title in South Africa in dramatic fashion, equalising in the last minute in Ireland to snatch a 2-2 draw and top spot in Group 8.

After an early exit at the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, the Italian team will be looking to turn around their misfortune. Under the leadership of 61-year-old coach and master tactician Lippi, the team are working to add a fifth World Cup crown to their rich footballing history.

They have been drawn in Group F with Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia.

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JAPAN (JPN)

Japan: Group E matches

  • Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Japan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Netherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Cameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Denmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Cameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Japan: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1998
  • Previous World Cups: 3
  • Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 2002
  • Total World Cup matches: 10
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 2 / 2 / 6
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 20%

Japan: Footballing nation

  • Association: Japan Football Association
  • Year association founded: 1921
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1929
  • Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • Population: 127-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 4.8-million
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 3.8%
  • Professional footballers: 976

Japan: Overview

The co-hosts of the 2002 Fifa World Cup, Japan boast one of the strongest squads in Asian football. Winners of three of the last five editions of the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup, Japan have high hopes for the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa.

They were the first team to book their place after earning a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Uzbekistan in Tashkent. This will be their fourth appearance at the Fifa World Cup, where they will be playing in Group E against Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon.

The Japanese will be facing their first finals without iconic midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata. The former Roma schemer featured in each of the national side’s games at France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006 before hanging up his boots after the latter event, aged just 29.

The Japanese hopes rest on players such as playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura, who in the summer 2009 made the switch from Glasgow to La Liga with Espanyol. Another European-based performer is young midfielder Keisuke Honda, at Eredivisie outfit VVV Venlo and like Nakamura a gifted left-footer.

Leading from the back is 31-year-old defensive rock and captain Yuji Nakazawa, who with over 90 senior caps to his name is Japan’s third-most capped player of all time.

The qualifying round was comfortable for the Japanese. They reached the fourth and final stage of Asian Zone having won four, drawn three and lost just one of their eight matches in Group 1.

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MEXICO (MEX)

Mexico: Group A matches

  • South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Uruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • South Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • France vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Mexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • France vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Mexico: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 13
  • Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1970, 1986
  • Total World Cup matches: 45
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 11 / 12 / 22
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 24%

Mexico: Footballing nation

Mexico: Overview

After a turbulent couple of years that has seen three coaches come and go and more than 60 players pull on the famous green jersey, Mexico has returned to calmer waters under the steadying influence of Javier Aguirre. The former Atletico Madrid coach has put together a team comprising of bright young talents and established stars, restoring their wavering confidence in the process.

After being appointed as coach in the qualifying matches, Aguirre worked a miracle, transforming Mexican fortunes despite kicking off with a 2-1 reverse in El Salvador. Victories over each of their five group rivals then followed, giving them a ticket to the finals with one game to spare. After a draw against Trinidad and Tobago in their final outing, the Mexicans ended the group in second place behind eternal rivals US.

Veteran playmaker Cuauhtemoc Blanco is perhaps the player Mexico fans should thank for their side’s turnaround. Lured out of retirement by Aguirre, the talented 36-year-old became the symbol of a revitalised team, helping younger teammates to find their best form.

Mexico have been drawn into Group A to face South Africa, Uruguay and 1998 World Cup winners France.

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NETHERLANDS (NED)

Netherlands: Group E matches

  • Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Japan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Netherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Cameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Denmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Cameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Netherlands: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1934
  • Previous World Cups: 8
  • Best World Cup progress: Runners-up in 1974, 1978
  • Total World Cup matches: 36
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 16 / 10 / 10
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 44%

Netherlands: Footballing nation

Netherlands: Overview

Netherlands have set a high target for their campaign in South Africa, 32 years after their 3-1 extra-time defeat by Argentina in the showpiece game, four years after their 2-1 final loss to West Germany.

The Dutch won 2-1 away to Iceland to become the first European side to qualify, having picked up eight wins from eight games.

The team has proved to be faultless so far, with the former Feyenoord coach Bert van Marwijk leading his troops to the top of Group 9, where Norway and Scotland were their major rivals.

With a rich history in football as well as an outstanding calibre of players, Netherlands want to go all the way to the top. The Oranje have been drawn into Group E with Japan, Denmark and Cameroon.

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NEW ZEALAND (NZL)

New Zealand: Group F matches

  • Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • New Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Italy vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Slovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Slovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Paraguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

New Zealand: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1982
  • Previous World Cups: 1
  • Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1982
  • Total World Cup matches: 3
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 0 / 3
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%

New Zealand: Footballing nation

  • Association: New Zealand Football
  • Year association founded: 1891
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1948
  • Confederation: Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
  • Population: 5-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 199 000
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 4.3%
  • Professional footballers: 25

New Zealand: Overview

The All Whites, New Zealand make a successive return to the Fifa World Cup after qualifying for Germany in 2006. The team claimed the Oceania crown to earn a trip to the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, where they showed solid form after a poor opening against European champions Spain.

The dramatic 180-minute South Africa 2010 play-off victory against Bahrain united the rugby-mad nation behind the All Whites like never before, resulting in a national record crowd of 35 100 in the capital Wellington for the decisive qualifier.

Captain and centre-back Ryan Nelsen is undoubtedly the player with the highest profile and best credantials in the team. The defender has been a regular at Blackburn Rovers for a number of years, the only New Zealander to have played for so long in the English Premier League.

At the other end of the pitch, the All Whites have a number of key attacking options led by the prolific Shane Smeltz. Oceania Player of the Year and Australian A-League top-scorer Smeltz has an all-round finishing ability, and is deadly in the air or with his feet.

New Zealand have been drawn into Group F to face Slovenia, Paraguay and defending champions Italy.

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NIGERIA (NGA)

Nigeria: Group B matches:

  • Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • South Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Argentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Greece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Nigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Greece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Nigeria: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1994
  • Previous World Cups: 3
  • Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 1994, 1998
  • Total World Cup matches: 11
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 4 / 1 / 6
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 36%

Nigeria: Footballing nation

  • Association: Nigeria Football Federation
  • Year association founded: 1945
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1960
  • Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)
  • Population: 149-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 6.7-million
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 4.5%
  • Professional footballers: 2 440

Nigeria: Overview

The 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa sees the return of the Super Eagles Nigeria, after failing to qualify for Germany 2006. Expectations are high for the team, after the dramatic qualifying match that saw Nigeria beating Kenya 3-2.

The Nigerians are expected to outshine their debut performance at USA 1994, where they dismantled eventual semi-finalists Bulgaria 3-0 in their first match before going on to fall 2-1 against Italy in the second round.

The Eagles will play Argentina, Korea and Greece in Group B.

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NORTH KOREA (PRK)

North Korea: Group G matches

  • Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Côte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Brazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Portugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • North Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Portugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, Durban

North Korea: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1966
  • Previous World Cups: 1
  • Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1966
  • Total World Cup matches: 4
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 1 / 2
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 25%

North Korea: Footballing nation

  • Association: DPR Korea Football Association
  • Year association founded: 1945
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1958
  • Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • Population: 23-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 503 000
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 2.2%
  • Professional footballers: 0

North Korea: Overview

North Korea seemingly came from nowhere to storm into the Asian Zone’s final qualification round, where they defied sizeable odds to take one of the continent’s four automatic spots in the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Nonetheless, North Korea’s qualification campaign took a gruelling 20 months and 16 games.

South Africa 2010 will mark North Korea’s second appearance in the Fifa World Cup; their first was in England in 1966.

They have been drawn into Group G to face strong opponents Brazil, Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire. This will make it difficult for them to emulate the success of the 1966 North Korea team, which beat Italy 1-0 to reach the quarter-finals.

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PARAGUAY (PAR)

Paraguay: Group F matches

  • Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • New Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Italy vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Slovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Slovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Paraguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Paraguay: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 7
  • Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 1986, 1998, 2002
  • Total World Cup matches: 22
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 6 / 7 / 9
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 27%

Paraguay: Footballing nation

Paraguay: Overview

Paraguay will be making their eighth Fifa World Cup appearance in 2010, their fourth in a row. In the qualifying matches they recorded the most wins in the group with 10 wins, three draws and five defeats. They collected 33 points in all to finish third behind the Chileans and Brazil. They confirmed their ticket to the finals in style, with Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo declaring a national holiday for the nation to celebrate.

The team’s success at the Fifa World Cup in South Africa rests on the services of several internationally renowned players, most of whom play club football in Mexico and Europe. While the side is sprinkled with proven performers in every area, the Paraguayans’ biggest name can be found up front: Roque Santa Cruz has had several successful seasons in England and is currently playing for Manchester City.

Paraguay have been drawn into Group F to face New Zealand, Slovakia and defending champions Italy.

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PORTUGAL (POR)

Portugal: Group G matches

  • Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Côte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Brazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Portugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • North Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Portugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, Durban

Portugal: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1966
  • Previous World Cups: 4
  • Best World Cup progress: Third-place semi-finalists in 1966, fourth-place semi-finalists in 2006
  • Total World Cup matches: 19
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 11 / 1 / 7
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 58%

Portugal: Footballing nation

Portugal: Overview

In the qualifying games, Portugal quickly went from being group favourites to standing on the threshold of elimination. With the management of Mozambican-born coach Carlos Queiroz, a former coach for South Africa, and talented players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Deco, expectations of the team are high.

Portugal were finalists at Uefa Euro 2004 and semi-finalists at Germany 2006, but have never progressed beyond a World Cup semi-final. They have displayed some dazzling football in recent years – without winning a major prize.

Portugal reached the finals courtesy of a play-off win over Bosnia-Herzegovina. For 2010 thay have been drawn against Brazil, North Korea and Côte d’Ivoire in Group G. Competition will be tough: five-time winners Brazil are the favourites for the tournament while Côte d’Ivoire boast players of the calibre of Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Salomon Kalou.

It is Portugal’s clash with the Ivorians that Ronaldo believes could be crucial, with the two nations’ opening bout in Port Elizabeth.

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SERBIA (SRB)

Serbia: Group D matches:

  • Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Serbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Germany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Ghana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Ghana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Australia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Serbia: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930 (as Yugoslavia)
  • Previous World Cups: 10
  • Best World Cup progress: Fourth-place semi-finalists in 1930, 1962 as Yugoslavia
  • Total World Cup matches: 40
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 16 / 8 / 16
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 40%

Serbia: Footballing nation

Serbia: Overview

Serbia will appear as an independent state for the first time in the 2010 Fifa World Cup. As part of the Yugoslavian side they appeared at nine editions of the competition, and competed as Serbia and Montenegro at Germany 2006.

The Serbian national team was previously known as the Yugoslavia national football team from 15 January 1992 until 4 February 2003, and then as the Serbia and Montenegro national football team until 3 June 2006. This was when Serbia declared independence as the successor state to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

It was officially renamed the Serbia national football team on 28 June 2006, while the Montenegro national football team was created to represent the new state of Montenegro.

Serbia beat Romania 5-0 to earn automatic qualification for the 2010 World Cup as the leaders of European qualifying Group 7. They have been drawn in Group D with Germany, Australia and Ghana.

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SLOVAKIA (SVK)

Slovakia: Group F matches

  • Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • New Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Italy vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Slovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Slovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Paraguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Slovakia: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 2010
  • Previous World Cups: 0
  • Best World Cup progress: The former Czechoslovakia played in eight Fifa World Cups and were runners-up in 1934 and 1962
  • Total World Cup matches: –
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: –
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: –

Slovakia: Footballing nation

Slovakia: Overview

Like Serbia, Slovakia will appear in a Fifa World Cup as an independent state for the first time in 2010. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Slovak Football Association was founded in 1993.

While this may be Slovakia’s first appearance on the global stage, the country’s footballing past is tied up with that of the former Czechoslovakia, who participated in eight finals overall. Czechoslovakia reached the final in 1934, losing 2-1 after extra time to Italy, and 1962, when they succumbed 3-1 to Brazil. They also advanced as far as the last eight in 1990.

Slovakia clinched qualification with a 1-0 away win against Poland. Currently ranked 34th in the world, they finished as surprise winners at the top of a tricky European qualifying group containing Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland and Northern Ireland. The Slovakians are in Group F with Italy Paraguay and New Zealand.

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SLOVENIA (SVN)

Slovenia: Group C matches

  • England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Algeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Slovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • England vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Slovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • USA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Slovenia: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 2002
  • Previous World Cups: 1
  • Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 2002
  • Total World Cup matches: 3
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 0 / 3
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%

Slovenia: Footballing nation

Slovenia: Overview

Given that they only gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Slovenia’s football history is shorter than the majority of their South Africa 2010 rivals. They can, however, reflect with pride on having qualified for the Fifa World Cup at just the second time of trying. Slovenia played their first match in 1992 after the split of Yugoslavia in 1991.

A nation of just 2-million people, Slovenia has done better than expected to secure a place at next year’s World Cup. They knocked out experienced teams such as Poland, Czech Republic and, finally, Russia to take their place in South Africa. Slovenia have been drawn in Group C with England US and Algeria.

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SOUTH AFRICA (RSA)

South Africa: Group A matches

  • South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Uruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • South Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • France vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Mexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • France vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

South Africa: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1998
  • Previous World Cups: 2
  • Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1998, 2002
  • Total World Cup matches: 6
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 3 / 2
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 17%

South Africa: Footballing nation

South Africa: Overview

There is cautious optimism in South Africa as the Rainbow Nation prepares to write what is undoubtedly the most significant chapter of its short football history. A mammoth task lies ahead.

In 1996, four years after their readmission to international football, South Africa shot to fame and stunned the African continent by claiming their maiden CAF Africa Cup of Nations trophy against Tunisia at Soccer City in Johannesburg. Now, 16 years later, South Africa will return to the venue where they achieved this first major success, aiming to rewrite the script on an even bigger stage.

Recent years have brought many disappointments, but Bafana Bafana have also shown that, given motivation and purpose, they can be a potent threat. And there can be no greater motivation than representing their country in a Fifa World Cup on home soil.

Their brave performance at the Fifa Confederations Cup last June, when they lost narrowly to Brazil in the semi-finals and to Spain in the third place play-off, should certainly serve as a reminder to their detractors that the team should not be underestimated.

Bafana Bafana boasts the talents of midfield maestro Steven Pienaar who, since his arrival at English Premier League team Everton, has reinvented himself and matured as an all-round player. His performance during the 2009 Confederations Cup were another reminder that he will be key to any South African success in 2010.

Now in his second stint as a South Africa coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira has a pedigree for success, having led his native Brazil to win the 1994 Fifa World Cup USA. He brings a wealth of experience, which should be vital in revitalising a South African side struggling with some significant pre-tournament problems.

The South Africans have been drawn into Group A to face France, Mexico and Uruguay.

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SOUTH KOREA (KOR)

South Korea: Group B matches

  • Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • South Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Argentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Greece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Nigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Greece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

South Korea: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1954
  • Previous World Cups: 7
  • Best World Cup progress: Fourth-place semi-finalists in 2002
  • Total World Cup matches: 24
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 4 / 7 / 13
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 17%

South Korea: Footballing nation

  • Association: Korea Football Association
  • Year association founded: 1933
  • Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1948
  • Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • Population: 48-million
  • Total footballers (male and female): 1.1-million
  • Footballers as percentage of population: 2.3%
  • Professional footballers: 550

South Korea: Overview

Asia’s most frequent visitors to the Fifa World Cup, South Korea are also the continent’s most successful team at the tournament. They may have qualified for their seventh consecutive world finals, but it was a bumpy ride this time. Despite a series of lacklustre performances in the third round, the South Koreans managed to top their group after two goalless draws with neighbours North Korea.

The North Koreans proved to be their nemesis again in the final round, holding the Taeguk Warriors to a 1-1 stalemate in Shanghai. But they bounced back in style with back-to-back wins over United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, before a crucial 1-1 draw with Iran in Tehran. A 1-0 home victory in the Korean derby followed, and the mission was accomplished with a 2-0 win against UAE.

Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung has played a key role in South Korea’s two previous Fifa World Cup campaigns. The multifunctional winger is now an indispensible member of the team, with his ability to create space and chances for his fellow players.

The 2002 Fifa World Cup co-hosts are striving to do better than Germany 2006 where they made an early exit in the group stages. The team has been drawn into Group B against Argentina, Nigeria and Greece.

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SPAIN (ESP)

Spain: Group H matches

  • Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Spain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Spain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Chile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Switzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Chile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Spain: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1934
  • Previous World Cups: 12
  • Best World Cup progress: Fourth-place semi-finalists in 1950
  • Total World Cup matches: 49
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 22 / 12 / 15
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 45%

Spain: Footballing nation

Spain: Overview

Spain, the Uefa Euro 2008 champions, won each of their 10 qualifying games. The team have not rested on the success of their 2008 victory, consistently bringing in new faces without compromising their attractive short-passing football.

Maturity, resilience and the ability to overcome adversity were all in evidence during their qualifying campaign. The team boasts the goalkeeping qualities of captain Iker Casillas, who plays in the Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid. The midfield combination of La Liga club Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez and Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas is vital to Spain’s fluid style, while at the sharp end of the attack there can be few if any better finishers than David Villa and Licverpool player Fernando Torres.

Spain have never won the Fifa World Cup and hope to take the crown in South Africa 2010. The team have been drawn into Group H to face Honduras, Chile and Switzerland.

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SWITZERLAND (SUI)

Switzerland: Group H matches

  • Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Spain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, Durban
  • Spain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Chile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Switzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Chile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Switzerland: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1934
  • Previous World Cups: 8
  • Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1954
  • Total World Cup matches: 26
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 8 / 5 / 13
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 31%

Switzerland: Footballing nation

Switzerland: Overview

Switzerland will be appearing in their ninth Fifa World Cup in 2010. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and his men are aiming for more than just a supporting role. Eliminated in the last 16 at Germany 2006, the Swiss worked hard on their way to South Africa. They finished at the top of their group on 21 points, beating Greece by one point in a taxing group.

The Swiss reached the quarter-finals in their first two World Cup appearances in 1934 and 1938. The highlight of the 1938 campaign was a 4-2 victory over a Nazi-controlled German team featuring Austrian players after the annexation of the country. When World Cup football resumed in 1950 after a 12-year World War II-enforced hiatus, the Swiss were knocked out at the group stage.

The Swiss hosted the tournament in 1954 and again made the quarters with two victories over Italy. The quarter-final match against Austria was the highest-scoring match in World Cup history as Switzerland remarkably threw away a three-goal lead, conceding five in seven first-half minutes to lose 7-5. In the 1962 and 1966 campaigns, the Swiss lost all their games.

Switzerland have been drawn into Group H to face Spain, Honduras and Chile.

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URUGUAY (URU)

Uruguay: Group A matches

  • South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, Johannesburg
  • Uruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • South Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • France vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Mexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • France vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Uruguay: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 10
  • Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1930
  • Total World Cup matches: 40
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 15 / 10 / 15
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 38%

Uruguay: Footballing nation

Uruguay: Overview

Two-time world champions Uruguay clinched the 32nd and final place in South Africa with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Costa Rica. Few nations have the footballing history of Uruguay. The country has a population of a little over 3-million yet boasts an impressive collection of world, Olympic and continental titles.

Football is the most important sport in Uruguay. They won an Olympic gold medal in 1924 and another one in 1928, which were considered the most important tournaments in football before the World Cup began in 1930. The first World Cup, which Uruguay won, was held in 1930 in Montevideo. Uruguay also won the World Cup in 1950, beating Brazil.

Uruguay has made two appearances at the last five Fifa World Cup finals. The man charged with the task of improving that record and raising their profile once more is Oscar Tabarez, who is now in his second stint as national coach, having taken the Uruguayans through to the last 16 at Italy in 1990.

Uruguay have been drawn into Group A to face South Africa, Mexico and France.

USA (USA)

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USA: Group C matches

  • England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Algeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Slovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
  • England vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Slovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • USA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

USA: Fifa World Cup history

  • First World Cup: 1930
  • Previous World Cups: 8
  • Best World Cup progress: Third-place semi-finalists in 1930
  • Total World Cup matches: 25
  • World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 6 / 3 / 16
  • Percentage of World Cup match wins: 24%

USA: Footballing nation

USA: Overview

Though football has not traditionally had a high profile in US sporting life, the sport has steadily grown in popularity since the 1970s. Ranked 14th in the world by Fifa, the American team have appeared in the last five World Cups.

The US reached the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa by qualifying in first place in the final six-team hexagonal phase of North, Central America and Caribbean Zone qualifying. Under the careful guidance of coach Bob Bradley, a well-drilled blend of proven internationals and up-and-coming stars will be keen to build on their second-place finish at the Fifa Confederations Cup South Africa 2009.

The US has taken part in nine Fifa World Cups, with Mexico the only Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football team involved in more editions of the tournament.

The Americans’ best World Cup performance came at Uruguay 1930, when they exited at the semi-final stage. At Germany 2006 they bid farewell to the tournament at the first hurdle. South Africa 2010 will be the Americans’ sixth consecutive appearance. They are in Group C where they will be playing England, Algeria and Slovenia.

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