Monday, November 19, 2007

Six African Nations for World Cup 2010

Six African Nations for World Cup 2010The dates for the 2010 Football World Cup have been set for 11 June to 11 July, and the allocation of places will be the same as for 2006, meaning that with South Africa granted an automatic berth as the host country - Africa will have one extra team at the tournament.

In a statement issued on Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Zurich, Fifa's executive committee said that 32 teams would contest the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Thirteen of these will be from Europe, five from Asia and Oceania, eight from South America and the Concacaf region (North and Central America and the Caribbean), and five from Africa, plus the automatic spot granted to South Africa.

This effectively gives Africa six teams at 2010 - and Europe one less than in 2006.

Of the eight places for South America and the Concacaf region, four are guaranteed to South American countries and three to Concacaf countries. The eighth spot will be decided by a play-off between the fifth-placed South American country in the 2010 qualifiers and the fourth-placed Concacaf country.

A similar play-off between the Oceania champion and Asia's fifth-best team will decide who takes the fifth berth for Asia and Oceania.

Fifa said the preliminary draw for 2010 would be held in Durban on 23 November 2007, and that the Fifa Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 would take place in the five venues of Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg (Ellis Park), Pretoria and Rustenburg from 14 to 27 June.

The Fifa Confederations Cup is contested by the winners of each of the six Fifa confederation championships - ie the reigning African, Asian, European, Oceanian, South American and Concacaf champions - along with the Fifa World Cup champion and the host country, to bring the number of teams up to eight.

Fifa said it had "listened with satisfaction" to a report on the status of South Africa's preparations for 2010, and "underlined its support for the local organising committee.

"However, the executive committee stated that it was now expecting work to begin, particularly on constructing and renovating the stadiums."

Plans for the construction of four stadiums and upgrading of six others in South Africa's nine 2010 host cities has been completed, and their funding secured, and construction work is due to begin early in 2007.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No surprises: Brazil get World Cup 2014

Flag of BrazilIt's no surprise Brazil got the World Cup for 2014 because they were the only country in South America bidding for it. It would have been a huge surprise had it not gone to them!

Brazil staged the World Cup once before, in 1950, when they lost 2-1 to Uruguay in the final and it will be the first time the event has happened in South America since Argentina hosted, and won, the 1978 tournament. Brazil is setting aside approximately £550m to update their stadiums, including the MaracanĂ£ in Rio de Janeiro which hosted the 1950 World Cup final.

FIFA's inspection report has identified 18 grounds with more than 40,000 capacity that could host games. These will be whittled down to no more than 12. We're not going to be following the news in Brazil just yet but will every now and then look at how things are developing.

Well done Brazil, I'm already looking forward to 2014!

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Riedl Wants No Distractions For Vietnam 2010 World Cup Qualifier

Vietnam national team coach Alfred Riedl will relinquish control of the Olympic team and concentrate on trying to guide the south-east Asian nation through qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

The Austrian was previously in charge of both teams but assistant Mai Duc Chung will take the reins of the Olympic team until the end of November.

Vietnam face United Arab Emirates in the first round of qualifying next month. The two met in Hanoi during the recent Asian Cup when Vietnam triumphed 2-0 and made it to the last eight.

The Olympic team are currently in the last rounf of qualifying for the Beijing Games and face Saudi Arabia on October 17 and Japan and Qatar the following month.

Riedl will return to the helm for the SEA Games in Thailand in December.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

2010 Confidence on the Increase

Overall public confidence in South Africa's readiness to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup has improved slightly since 2006, with a study by market research company African Response finding that 70% of South Africans believe the country will be ready then.

African Response director Anina Maree says this is an encouraging sign, explaining that their 2010 barometer was designed to track public perceptions, and to allow organisers and other stakeholders to address public concerns. "A heart-warming result from the 2010 African Response barometer is that the majority of respondents (85%) believe that South Africa will benefit from the South Africa 2010 World Cup," African Response says in a statement this week.

"In addition, almost four out of five respondents believe that the World Cup is important to them personally."

The survey interviewed 1 200 respondents from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria over April, May and June this year. The survey shows that the residents of Johannesburg as being significantly more optimistic in the country's ability to host the World Cup, with a 76% confidence level, as opposed to residents of Cape Town, with only 60%.

Seventy percent of those interviewed believe that South African airports will be while 59% have faith that public transport will be sufficient to carry soccer fans around the country during the tournament.

An overwhelming 85% also believed that South Africa's many restaurants would be ready to cope with the increased demands of hosting the World Cup. "Bafana Bafana have apparently made a good impression on the South African public in the last three months, as confidence in our local team has risen from 44% in 2006 to 52% in 2007," African Response adds.

The survey also points to more South Africans preferring to watch World Cup matches on television, with only 54% wanting to watch matches live, down from 61% in 2006. "Although overall levels of confidence are high, some areas for improvement have been highlighted from the survey," African Response says.

The survey shows that there has been a notable decline in the confidence that South Africa will be able to meet electricity demands during the World Cup, with confidence being lowest in Cape Town, which has had many power disruptions. Confidence is South Africa's security and policing has declined from 62% in 2006 to 55% currently, while residents' optimism on sufficient accommodation being available during the tournament also dropped to 77% from 84% in 2006.

The survey also finds that over half of the respondents feel that they are not receiving enough information on the progress made on World Cup preparations. "While overall confidence is up, there are obvious areas which South Africans believe could be improved on," says Maree.

"However, as 2010 nears, and developments become visible to the public these scores are sure to rise as excitement builds."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New format for European teams to qualify for 2010 World Cup

South AfricaEurope-based teams hoping to compete at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be split among eight groups of six teams, and one group of five, UEFA announced in the Netherlands yesterday.

UEFA chief Michel Platini revealed the new format during the under-21 European Championships, won by hosts the Netherlands at the weekend. From the 53 UEFA linked countries involved in qualifying, 13 will go on to compete at the 32-nation 2010 World Cup from South Africa.

The nine group winners will qualify directly and the best eight runners-up will play home and away play-off matches for the remaining four places. Platini said: "It's a good compromise because I wasn't entirely satisfied with the previous format comprised of groups with seven and eight teams."

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Preliminary Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

The football world is already buzzing with excitement in the run-up to 23 November 2007, the day on which Durban will host the draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa qualifying ties and groups.

South Africa
’s second-biggest city on the shores of the Indian Ocean provides a majestic setting for the ceremony, an event which is attracting interest from all over the globe. Qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa has attracted a record total of 205 nations, all aiming to seal a berth at the showcase tournament from 11 June to 11 July 2010 in nine South African cities.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

History of the FIFA World Cup

Ball of World Cup 2010No other sporting event captures the world's imagination like the FIFA World Cup. Ever since the first tentative competition in Uruguay in 1930, FIFA's flagship has constantly grown in popularity and prestige.

A group of visionary French football administrators, led in the 1920s by the innovative Jules Rimet, are credited with the original idea of bringing the world's strongest national football teams together to compete for the title of World Champions. The original gold trophy bore Jules Rimet's name and was contested three times in the 1930s, before the Second World War put a 12-year stop to the competition.

When it resumed, the FIFA World Cup rapidly advanced to its undisputed status as the greatest single sporting event of the modern world. Held since 1958 alternately in Europe and the Americas, the World Cup broke new ground with the Executive Committee's decision in May 1996 to select Korea and Japan as co-hosts for the 2002 edition.

Since 1930, the 16 tournaments have seen only seven different winners. However, the FIFA World Cup has also been punctuated by dramatic upsets that have helped create footballing history - the United States defeating England in 1950, North Korea's defeat of Italy in 1966, Cameroon's emergence in the 1980s and their opening match defeat of the Argentinean cup-holders in 1990....

Today, the FIFA World Cup™ holds the entire global public under its spell. An accumulated audience of over 37 billion people watched the France 98 tournament, including approximately 1.3 billion for the final alone, while over 2.7 million people flocked to watch the 64 matches in the French stadia.

After all these years and so many changes, however, the main focus of the FIFA World Cup remains the same - the glistening golden trophy, which is the embodiment of every football player's ambition.

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