2010 qualifiers wrap up

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pretoria - The last six teams to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, filling the last of the 32 positions for the tournament, are Greece, Slovenia, Portugal, France, Uruguay and Algeria.

They join Nigeria, Cameroon, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, North Korea, Australia, South Korea, United States, Brazil, Ghana, England, Paraguay and Spain among others who have already booked their tickets to South Africa to participate in the first African soccer World Cup.

The 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) has congratulated the teams on their success in their respective qualifiers on Wednesday evening.

Algeria qualified after beating Egypt 1-0 in a decider match held in Sudan, securing the final spot from the six Africa zone positions available for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

LOC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Danny Jordaan said that after a 23-year absence, South Africa welcomed Algeria back to the World Cup stage.

"We look forward to seeing if they can repeat the heroics of their first FIFA World Cup where they claimed a deserved 2-1 victory over eventual finalists West Germany," said Jordaan. The Desert Foxes have twice played in the FIFA World Cup, in 1982 and 1986.

France, which has 12 FIFA World Cup appearances under their belt, including a win in 1998 on home soil, a second place in 2006 and a third place in 1958 and 1986, qualified after a 1-1 draw with Ireland.

"As one of the giants of world football, France will definitely attract the attention of the fans and I am certain their matches will be sold out," said Jordaan.

Portugal qualified after upsetting Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in a second leg of their play-off match

"With stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and the like coming to South Africa, the competition is certainly heating up and it is the fans that will benefit. It is with great pleasure that I welcome the Portuguese to South Africa in 2010 and I am sure the strong Portuguese community in this country is equally pleased.

"Portugal can be assured that they will be welcomed with open arms when they arrive in South Africa in just under 200 days time," said the LOC boss.

Portugal has made four FIFA World Cup appearances in their history with a best place of third during the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England.

Slovenia qualified after beating Russia 1-0, proving their worth ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.

Jordaan said he looked forward to seeing them in action.

Slovenia has participated in international competition after gaining independence following the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991.

After missing out on a place at France 1998, they qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals at the second attempt for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea/Japan.

Greece qualified after beating Ukraine 1-0. This team was part of the 1994 FIFA World Cup but failed to qualify for 1998, 2002 and 2006.

"We have seen what Greece can do in major football tournaments after their win in Euro 2004 and they are a great addition to the 2010 tournament. South Africa has a strong Greek community that will certainly come out in support of this team during the World Cup," said Jordaan.

The last team, Uruguay, qualified after a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica.

"As the first host and winner of this tournament they are a World Cup institution and will be closely followed during the tournament next year," said Jordaan.

The 32 qualified teams will be placed into their groups on 4 December 2009 during the 2010 Final Draw in Cape Town.