All the national teams participating in the 2010 World Cup were required to submit a provisional squad of 30 players by May 11th, 2010 and on Juna 1st, 2010 each country’s squad of 23 players must be submitted. Injured players can be replaced is allowed until 24 hours before their first World Cup game.
South Africa may have automatically qualified for the World Cup, but did that stop them from participating in qualifying? There was a good reason for it.
France certainly could have benefited from an automatic qualification, because that would have meant not having to deal with certain controversies.
France did things the hard way, and so did Mexico and Uruguay, but all three came through when it mattered the most to claim expected places in the finals.
South Africa: South Africa News | South Africa World Cup Squad
Mexico: Mexico News | Mexico World Cup Squad
Uruguay: Uruguay News | Uruguay World Cup Squad
France: France News | France World Cup Squad
Another side who can attest to the previous sentence is Argentina, who looked anything but a World Cup favorite on more than a few occasions during qualifying but got their act together in time enough to avoid what would have been a failure of epic proportions.
They and Greece both left it late, but on the other hand, qualifying was a breeze for both Nigeria and South Korea, who qualified with room to breathe and time to spare.
Argentina: Argentina News | Argentina World Cup Squad
Nigeria: Nigeria News | Nigeria World Cup Squad
South Korea: South Korea News | South Korea World Cup Squad
Greece: Greece News | Greece World Cup Squad
England needed to have a strong World Cup qualifying campaign to be taken seriously as a top contender in South Africa, and the Three Lions certainly delivered.
The United States qualified without few real bumps along the way, as expected, but that was the easy part. Their opener against England might be the one that they’re circling on the calendar, but the U.S. should be well aware that the matches that matter the most are the second and third, not the first, especially after Algeria and Slovenia knocked off top teams to qualify for the tournament.
Germany, like England, strolled through qualifying for the most part, but it might be surprising who managed to give them the toughest time in what was otherwise a cakewalk.
It might not be much of a surprise that Germany, Australia, and Ghana all made easy work of qualifying, but Serbia made their case to be considered a real threat in South Africa by doing much the same themselves.
The Netherlands were one of only two sides who went through World Cup qualifying without dropping a single point (we’ll get to the other one below).
It would be safe to assume that their three Group E matches will be tougher than their eight qualifying matches combined. Denmark and Cameroon may not have been perfect, but they were extremely impressive in qualifying as well.
World Cup champions Italy were unbeaten during qualifying, but their run was far from flawless.
If Italy had trouble putting away the likes of Cyprus, they could have some real trouble against Paraguay and Slovakia, whose records weren’t as sparkling as Italy’s but were, on the whole, far more impressive.
Italy: Italy News | Italy World Cup Squad
Paraguay: Paraguay News | Paraguay World Cup Squad
New Zealand: New Zealand News | New Zealand World Cup Squad
Slovakia: Slovakia News | Slovakia World Cup Squad
The last thing Brazil needed after an underwhelming showing at the 2006 World Cup was an underwhelming qualifying campaign, but that was exactly what happened, until the light came on and Brazil started being the Brazil.
It took a while for the light to come on for Portugal as well, and if motivation and inspiration are issues in the World Cup, it could mean disaster against the Ivory Coast, who hopefully didn’t leave their scoring boots behind in qualifying, and North Korea, who will bring a stout defense to the tournament.
Brazil: Brazil News | Brazil World Cup Squad
North Korea: North Korea News | North Korea World Cup Squad
Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast News | Ivory Coast World Cup Squad
Portugal: Portugal News | Portugal World Cup Squad
Group H is without a doubt Spain’s to lose, and speaking of losing, that’s something Spain didn’t do in qualifying.
It’s not often that you’ll see a team lose at home to Luxembourg and reach the World Cup, but that’s the case for Switzerland, whose embarrassing defeat might have done far more good than harm.
Chile and Honduras don’t have the same level of international experience that Spain and Switzerland do, but neither can be taken lightly after some impressive results.
Also see: FIFA World Cup Fixtures | FIFA World Cup Statistics | FIFA World Cup Shirts | World Cup 2010 Kits.