South Africa 2010, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is finally upon us. The world’s biggest sporting event will be getting started on June 11, which means it’s time for you to get caught up on what it all means and how it’s all going to play out. Consider this your complete guide to World Cup 2010 in South Africa, including all of the information you need on the format of play, the favorites, the potential for the US soccer team and the schedule for the tournament.
World Cup 2010 Format
The World Cup has actually been going on for about three years already, at least the qualifying stages for the 2010 tournament. That’s because the World Cup that we in the States pay attention to is really considered the “finals”, and teams have fought and scraped for their entry into the field for quite some time.
The action opens with the 32 qualifying teams, including host country South Africa, being placed into eight four-team groups, labeled Group A – Group H. These groups were picked randomly with a few restrictions based upon qualifying regions.
During the Group Stage, each team plays every other team within their group. That means that each team plays three games. The top two teams from each group then advance to the Round of 16.
In the Round of 16, the top advancer from one group plays the second advancing team from another, now in single-elimination format. The winners then continue onto the quarterfinals and semifinals. The losers of the semifinals play a third place game, and the winners go on to the final championship game to determine the winner of the World Cup.
2010 World Cup Schedule
The 2010 South Africa World Cup gets underway on June 11. The group stages continue for a full two weeks, finally coming to a close on June 25. With each group having six matches, that’s 48 games during that two week span.
The Round of 16 then immediately gets underway on June 26, lasting until June 29, with two of the eight matches being held on each day.
The quarterfinals begin on July 2 with two matches being held, and then the next two quarterfinals matches are held on July 3. One game each is played on July 6 and July 7 for the semifinals.
The losing teams play the third place game on July 10, and finally the 2010 World Cup Final championship game will be held on July 11, a nice, even month since it began.
2010 World Cup Favorites
The two leading candidates to win the South Africa 2010 World Cup will be Brazil and Spain. Brazil was won five times in the past and is currently ranked as the number 1 team in the FIFA rankings. Spain has never won a World Cup, but will be one of the World Cup 2010 favorites as the number 2 ranked FIFA squad.
Portugal (ranked number 3), Netherlands (4) and defending champion Italy (5) are all also strong contenders. Germany (6) is shorthanded without their captain, while Argentina (7), England (8) and France (10) all have the talent to streak through the tournament.
World Cup 2010 US Soccer Potential
The US soccer team enters the field as the number 14 team in the FIFA rankings. Matched in Group C with England, Algeria and Slovenia, the US squad will be favored to make it out of the Group Stage. If they do not, it will signify a major shortcoming for the team, and a significant upset with either Algeria or Slovenia grabbing the second spot with England.
If the US soccer team makes it past the Group Stage, they will face one of the two advancing teams from Group D. That could potentially be Germany or Serbia, while the other two Group D teams are Ghana and Australia. Making it to the quarterfinals would lead to a match up against one of the surviving Group A or B teams, where the big names include France and Argentina.
All things considering it’s a favorable draw for the US soccer team. Their group isn’t particularly strong besides England, and their alignment means it would take until the semi-finals before they would have to run into a killer squad such as Brazil, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands or Italy.
For more in depth information on World Cup 2010, you can browse my other articles dealing with a detailed breakdown of the schedule and television times, as well as an analysis of all of the groups and the tournament teams. Hopefully by now you have a good grasp about what to expect, share the wealth and pass on this complete guide to the World Cup 2010 and enjoy the month-long festivities!
Sources: www.fifa.com for format, schedule, rankings and team information.