The 2010 World Cup qualifying round is now over; for the first time since 1934 the host nation (South Africa) will take part of the qualifying round. However, the South Africans will qualify despite the position they finish at. It is also the first time the tournament will be hosted by a Confederation of African Football nation. According to FIFA President the selection of Africa is “justice to a continent that has given so much to football”.
The draw of the 19th FIFA WORLD CUP celebrated last Sunday in Durban, South Africa attracted over 3,000 football administrators and coaches and it was watched around the world in 170 countries. There were 169 nations in the draw which works as a qualifying round for the 2010 African Cup of Nations to be place in Angola.
The draw was attended by South African president Thabo Mbeki; not all the countries were blessed as the draw did not please countries as England. The team was placed in the same group than their torment, Croatia, club which only a few days before humiliated England in a 3 to 2 win eliminating them from the Euro 2008.
England will have a second chance to bit their hardest opponent in the preliminary stage but the main goal now is to find a new coach who can face this new challenge. Nevertheless, both teams were paired in a complicated group; the European Group 6 is also conformed by powerful teams as: Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Andorra. Other than just sport rivalries, during the qualifying matches there will be a mix of politics rivalries too. The United States for example, may play against Cuba while South Korea will meet North Korea in Asian qualifying.
On the other hand, Italy, the World Cup champion seems to be satisfied in a “easy group” in company of Ireland, Cyprus, Georgia and Montenegro. As yet, the European team drawn in which is considered the toughest group is France, club that will have to play against well known teams as: Romania and Serbia. However, the nation has been a football force in the last year’s as world cup runner up and previously achieving the 1998 World Cup title.
Last year champion, Italy was drawn with Bulgaria, Ireland Cyprus, Georgia and Montenegro; an easy team for the champions, according to their soccer chief, Giancarlo Abete, the group is a group Italy should cruise through without problems.
The entrances to the World Cup will have a different format depending on the continent; for example: North, Central America and the Caribbean will have preliminary rounds to reduce the teams to 24 while in South America there are 10 teams playing in eighteen rounds. Asia is into 20 teams; the first and second place of each pot gets through the final rounds. Africa, as well, will be split into 12 groups while Europe is divided in nine groups to fill in the 13 places available; 9 winners and the rest will be decided between the second places in playoff matches. The only Confederation with no automatic place in the finals is Oceania; therefore; the winner of the qualification rounds will face the fifth placed in the Asia’s Confederation.
Source by Julie Smith