List of teams participating in 2010 to be finalised

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pretoria - International football fans will have to wait just a few more hours before the list of 32 teams participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup is finalised.

The World Cup qualifying matches will wrap up tonight, with the most entertaining fixture being the North Africa battle between Algeria and Egypt.

Many football fans consider the Pharos as a favourite but football is unpredictable.

These two teams met last weekend in a thriller Group C match where Egypt won 2-nil from Amr Zaki and Emad Mateab's goals.

Egypt's victory over the Algerians intensified the drama as the win made everything equivalent, from the points to the goal difference.

FIFA therefore decided that the two teams will replay tonight in Omdurman in Sudan and whoever wins will be booking their tickets to South Africa next year.

Both Egypt and Algeria have 13 points and have scored nine goals and conceded four. The North African sides have played six qualifier games, winning four, drew once and lost one match.

Meanwhile, European teams have unfinished business and will complete their mission tonight as the last play-off positions are concluded.

Cristiano Ronaldo and company are anticipated to amuse their fans as Portugal battle it out with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zenica in the second leg of their play-offs.

The two sides met last weekend in Lisbon where the Portuguese won 1-nil from Bruno Elves's goals and tonight will be do or die.

However, many football devotees would love to see Portugal winning this as former Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Queiroz's charges consist of world respected stars such as Chelsea's Deco, Real Madrid's Ronaldo, Manchester United's Nani and many more.

On other hand, France is anticipated to join already qualified teams as they lock horns with the Republic of Ireland in their second leg of play-offs in Saint-Denis, France.

The French defeated the Irish 1-nil in the first leg played in Dublin and the likes of Chelsea' Nicholas Anelka and Barcelona's Thierry Henry are anticipated to cause more misery for the Irish loyalists.

In another match, Ukraine will play against Greece in Donetsk in the second leg following their last weekend clash which ended in a goalless draw.

Russia and Slovenia will also play their second leg play-off match in Maribor after Russia beat the Slovenians 2-1 last weekend in Moscow.

Dinyar Bilyaletdivon scored a brace for the Russians and Nejc Pecnik got Slovenians a consolation goal and tonight's match will decide which side will partake in the World Cup.

In the American battle, Uruguay and Costa Rica will lock horns in the second leg in Montevideo following their match last weekend in San Jose which ended 1-nil to the South American side.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the 2010 Local Organising Committee will host a flag-raising ceremony in Johannesburg to welcome the 32 countries that would have qualified to participate in Africa's very first World Cup next year.