2010 FIFA World Cup
The stage is set, the lights are on, the teams are drawn and the action promises to be as good as it gets. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held in South Africa and will see Italy, the defending champions, vie against the competition to retain the Cup. The tournament will begin on 11 June, 2010 and will climax to a glorious final on 11 July, 2010. The premier international football event is held once every four years, and just like the Olympics, sees a large number of countries fight for a shot at glory.
The qualifying matches for the FIFA 2010 World Cup commenced on August 2007 and saw 204 FIFA national teams face-off against each other for a chance to play at South Africa. 32 teams out of the 204 participating teams were fortunate and talented enough make it to the ‘biggest soccer stage of them all’.
The tournament that will see many firsts saw its biggest first with South Africa being chosen as the 2010 World Cup Host. South Africa lays claim to the privileged distinction of being the first African nation to host the prestigious World Cup tournament. South Africa was chosen to host the World Cup after just a single round of voting. Libya and Tunisia, as co-hosts, also made a bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament, but failed to achieve the same post the decision of the FIFA Executive Committee not to permit co-hosted tournaments.
The 2010 World Cup also hits another first in South Africa. This is the first World Cup tournament that saw the host country participating in the qualifying matches. South Africa, by virtue of being the hosts, qualified automatically for the tournament, but still had to play in the CAF qualifiers. This was because the results of the CAF qualifiers will be considered for the 2010 African Cup of Nations.
The matches of the FIFA 201O World Cup in South Africa will be held in the cities of Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Rustenburg, Mangaung/Bloemfontein, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth. South Africa even boasts of five stadia that have been promoted to international standards and five stadia that have been built particularly for the purpose of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches.
The final draw of the 32 qualified teams was held on 4 December, 2009 in Cape Town. The teams were seeded on the basis of their respective ranks in the October 2009 FIFA World Ranking list. After South Africa, seven teams were seeded for the process of the ‘Final Draw’. These 8 teams comprised Pot 1. Pot 2 comprised sides from Oceania, North and Central America, the Caribbean and Asia. Pot 2 consisted of South American and African teams and Pot 4 included the other European teams. The teams were then split into groups. Hosts South Africa were placed into Group A, while the other seeded teams were positioned into Groups B-H. The groups were drawn from A-H and the positions in the groups were determined for pots 2-4.
The eyes of the world will most definitely now rest on South Africa, a country that is now noted for its hospitality towards sporting events. All hail the 2010 FIFA World Cup!