For the first time, ever... the FIFA World Cup comes to Africa. South Africa was chosen as host for this year's tournament in 2004 when they saw off the challenge of both Morocco and Egypt.
Qualifying was a hard slog - when wasn't it? Qualifying started in August 2007 and continued until November 2009. In total 32 teams qualified for the tournament. This included hosts South Africa, who although not required to qualify for the World Cup, were required to do so for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and so did play in the Qualifying Stage - they failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations! Holders Italy were required to qualify too - and they did, being one of Europe's 13 Qualifiers.
Including the hosts 32 teams qualified and will be split into 8 groups of four. With matches staring on 11 June and running until 25 June, the top two in each group will advance to the Round of 16. The first match will be the Group A clash between South Africa and Mexico in Johannesburg and the final Group Stage matches will feature Group H's finest (well all of Group H) Chile v Spain and Switzerland v Honduras.
Round of 16
The Round of 16 will commence on 26 June in Port Elizabeth, with the winners of Group A taking on the runner-up in Group B. This phase will be completed on 29 June with a clash between the winners of Group H and the Group G runners-up.
The Quarter Finals will take place over two days, 2 and 3 July.
The Semi Finals will take place on 6 and 7 July.
Third Place Play Off
The Third Place Play Off will take place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth on 10 July.
FIFA World Cup Final 2010
The FIFA World Cup Final will take place at Soccer City in Johannesburg on 11 July 2010.
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