Thursday, November 19, 2009

South Africa 2010: Qualified teams

The qualification for the World Cup is over, and the 32 countries that will be at the World Cup in South Africa are ready.

South America:
  • Brazil: the five-time world champions have participated in all previous 18 World Cups.
  • Paraguay: One of the strongest and most stable South American sides are participating in their seventh world cup, and fourth in a row.
  • Chile: Participating in their 8th World Cup with an outstanding side coached by the Argentinean Marcelo Bielsa.
  • Argentina: Maradona's team has qualified for their 15th World Cup.
  • Uruguay: The two-times World Champions were the last ones to qualify in their play-off against Costa Rica, to their 11th World Cup.
  • North Corea: Are participating in their second World Cup ever, their first being their very succesful 1966 World Cup.
  • South Corea: The Asian giants have qualified for the seventh time in a row, and eighth in total.
  • Australia: Qualifying from Asia, Australia have now made it to their third World Cup.
  • Japan: Entering their fourth World Cup in a row and in total.
  • South Africa (hosts): Without having to qualify, the South Africans will participate in their only third World Cup since their first in 1998.
  • Ghana: A succesful debut in 2006 will lead to high expectations in this their second World Cup.
  • Côte d'Ivoire: Their first World Cup of 2006 was unsuccesful, so they will be looking to improve it this second time.
  • Cameroon: Participating in their 6th World Cup makes them the most succesful African World Cup nation ever.
  • Nigeria: The African giants will be playing their fourth World Cup after a dramatic last-round qualifier against Kenya.
  • Algeria: Algeria was at their first World Cup in 1982, sensationally defeating West Germany, and in 1986. This is their third World Cup.
  • New Zealand: The absence of Australia from the Oceania qualifiers gave New Zealand the surprise participation in their second World Cup (the first being Spain 1982)
North America:
  • USA: Participated in 1930 and 1950, and in every World Cup since 1990.
  • Mexico: The North Americans are entering their 14th World Cup.
  • Honduras: Participated for the first time in 1982, and this will be their second time.
  • Netherlands: The Orange Dutch are participating in their 9th World Cup.
  • Denmark: Entering their fourth World Cup, their last one being in 2002 where England eliminated them in the last-16.
  • England: The 1966 World Champions are entering their 13th World Cup.
  • Spain: The defending European Champions are looking for the World Cup glory that has always eluded them in 12 previous participations.
  • Germany: As a united Germany they are participating for the seventh time (and here in include 1934 and 1938). As West Germany they participated ten times and won three. This will thus be their 17th tournament.
  • Italy: The Italians are going to defend their 2006 title in their 17th World Cup participation
  • Slovakia: As Slovakia they will be playing their first World Cup ever, but as Czechoslovakia played in eight World Cups.
  • Serbia: Participated nine times as Yugoslavia, once as Serbia-Montenegro in 2006, and this will be the first time they participate as Serbia alone.
  • Switzerland: The Swiss will participate in their 9th World Cup, and second in a row.
  • Slovenia: Their surprise qualification against Russia put Slovenia in their second World Cup ever.
  • France: The 1998 champions and 2006 finalists barely qualified to their 13th World Cup after a controversial goal against Ireland.
  • Greece: The 2004 European Champions coached by Otto Rehagel have qualified for their second World Cup.
  • Portugal: Probably one of the most talented nations in the world, but are only participating in their 5th World Cup.
It looks like it will be a great world cup on the variety of participation, but as in the latest World Cups, there should not be great expectations to the quality of football, although there will surely be some national dramas in the latter rounds. Some countries that have played poorly and been quite problematic will not be missed, such as Egypt, Sweden or Russia, but others will surely be missed, such as Turkey, Senegal, Angola and the Czech Republic. I will definetly miss Trinidad & Tobago!

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