As the the biggest football carnival in the world draws closer and closer, let us have a closer look at the big teams who will vie for the biggest prize in world football.
The 19th FIFA World Cup will be hosted by South Africa, the first ever World Cup to be held in the African continent. And for a start, we will be featuring the host nation -South Africa.
FIFA Ranking : 90
As the host nation, South Africa qualified automatically for the tournament. Nonetheless, South Africa participated in World Cup qualifiers because the CAF qualifiers also served as the qualifying tournament for the 2010 African Cup of Nations. When South Africa hosted the Confederations' Cup in 2009, the team made it to the semi finals and showed commendable spirit against some of the bigger teams like Spain and Brazil.
The Bafana Bafana held Brazil for most of the 90 minuted in the semis, but came undone after conceding a late free-kick. In the 3rd place playoff, too, they lead Spain at one stage, before dramatically losing in extra time. For many, the ability of the Bafana Bafana to stand up to the South American and European champions showed just how far the team had come.
Their Brazilian coach, 66 year-old Carlos Alberto Parreira, is one of only two coaches who has led four teams to the World Cup, and will equal a record of five teams when he leads South Africa into this year's edition. He was the coach of the Brazilian national team when they won the 1994 edition in the United States.
Rowen Fernandez, Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Shu-Aib Walters.
Aaron Mokoena, Bryce Moon, Tsepo Masilela, Bevan Fransman, Anele Ngcongca, Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa, Innocent Mdledle, Bongani, Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni, Lucas Thwala.
Steven Pienaar, MacBeth Sibaya, Franklin Cale, Surprise Moriri, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Lance Davids, Teko Modise, Andile Jali, Thanduyise Khuboni, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Benni McCarthy, Bernard Parker, Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nomvethe.
Man To Watch
The prolific striker has scored 12 goals for the Bafana Bafana in as much as 26 caps. His performance in the 2009 Confederations Cup, especially in the 3rd place playoff against Spain has raised the expectations from him as well as the South African team as they go into the World Cup.
History has shown that playing at home has a huge advantage, as was seen by all when South Korea battled it all the way to the semi finals when they hosted the World Cup in 2002.
History is indeed on their side, as a host nation has never been knocked out during the group stages of the tournament. The host country will have to pull something special out of their hats even to get past the group stages but a first round exit seems to be the likeliest result.