Two more teams qualify for World Cup

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pretoria - England and Spain have qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to take place in South Africa next year after winning their qualifying matches.

The Three Lions, who are ranked number six in the world, qualified for the World Cup when they beat Croatia 5-1 at Wembley on Wednesday night.

They have maintained their 100 percent qualifying record and secure top spot in Group 8, joining the Netherlands as the second European team to qualify.

The Spanish booked their place in the finals after beating Estonia 3-0 in Merida. They retained their unbeaten run and now secure top place in Group 5 with eight wins from eight matches.

Brazil and Ghana had earlier qualified for the World Cup.

2010 FIFA Organising Committee (OC) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Danny Jordaan, said England's presence at next year's World Cup would add significantly to the tournament, both on and off the pitch.

"Fabio Capello's side have powered their way to South Africa 2010 and will certainly be a force to be reckoned with next year. They are playing very good football and the team and will certainly come to South Africa as one of the tournament's favourites," said Jordaan.

He said the English Premier League was one of the best leagues in the world and arguably the most followed globally.

"All the England players are extremely popular in South Africa and a number of them have visited the country with their club teams and with the national team in recent years," he added.

The United Kingdom also one of the countries which has bought the most tickets for the tournament. It trails on the United States and host country, South Africa. By the beginning of September, more than 45 000 tickets had been sold to residents from the UK.

"The English fans, who are among the most passionate and knowledgeable in the world, are no strangers to our shores, regularly travelling to England cricket, rugby and football matches in South Africa.

"We are sure the English team and their fans will enjoy their time in our country and contribute tremendously to what is sure to be a carnival atmosphere at Africa's first FIFA World Cup. We wish England well in next year's tournament," said Jordaan.

He further congratulated Spain for qualifying, saying they would excite many football fans with their brand of football.

"South Africa was lucky to experience La F£ria Roja at the Confederations Cup in June, and we are sure that we can expect even more of them at the World Cup next year," he said.

Although the Spanish are among one of the most decorated football sides of all time the most sought after prize in football has continued to elude them. The number two ranked side in the world took fourth place in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil and have been European champions on two occasions, 1964 and 2008, and runners up in 1984.