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by Richard Baldock
 

SOUTH AFRICA

After 16 years of isolation from FIFA World Cup Soccer, the South African soccer team re-entered international soccer in 1992 with their first game against Cameroon. Four years later Bafana Bafana shot to fame as they claimed their maiden African Nations Cup, defeating Tunisia on home soil.

The South African soccer team participated in the 1998 France Soccer World Cup, but were knocked out in the first round by the French. They forged ahead, and whilst the second round seemed in sight, it was not to be. Another blow came for the South African soccer team as they failed to qualify for the 2006 Germany World Cup. However this was somewhat alleviated by the announcement in 2004 that South Africa would be the first African country to host a Soccer World Cup tournament.

After their heroic performance at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2009, where they finished in fourth place, the South African soccer team has proven that it has the potential to be a serious contender for claiming the 2010 Soccer World Cup title, especially considering it is on home ground.

With the world watching closely, the Rainbow Nation has prepared feverishly to deliver on what is probably the biggest sports-related project the country has ever undertaken.

The Champion Soccer World Cup Players

Key to the Bafana Bafana team is Steven Pienaar, a talented midfielder. Pienaar has skilled himself into being an all-round player who displays immense confidence, positively impacting the team as a whole.

Less prominent, yet equally essential to the success of the South Africa soccer team, are Tsepho Masilela and Siboniso Gaxa.

Bafana Bafana Leadership

Born on February 27, 1943 in Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Parreira, has extensive international experience, yet has never actually played soccer in a professional capacity. He began his career as a fitness coach before leading a number of countries including Brazil, taking the team to victory at the 1994 United States Soccer World Cup, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Ghana. Parreira initially took the South African reins in 2007, but as the team began to improve, he was forced to resign due to his wife's ill health.

Eight months later, Parreira was brought back to once again lead the South African soccer team. With the World Cup 2010 around the corner, he has very little time left to remedy the pre-tournament difficulties Bafana Bafana has experienced. Whilst opinions regarding Parreira's return are diverse, those that do support him believe he is the antidote necessary to lead the hosting team to a rewarding home performance at the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

South Africa FIFA Soccer World Cup Achievements
  • This is South Africa's third appearance at the FIFA World Cup after qualification in 1998 and 2002.
  • Benni McCarthy scored South Africa's first goal at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in a 1-1 draw against Denmark.

Bafana Bafana South Africa World Cup 2010 Fixtures

Date

Time

Match

Venue

Fri, June 11

15:00 UK

South Africa v Mexico

Soccer City (Johannesburg)

Wed, June 16

19:30 UK

South Africa v Uruguay

Loftus Versfeld (Tshwane/Pretoria)

Tue, June 22

15:00 UK

France v South Africa

Free State (Mangaung/Bloemfontein)

AUSTRALIA

Australia entered the Soccer World Cup scene in 1974, but didn't participate again until 32 years later at the 2006 Germany World Cup. Their initial tournament was disappointing for the Australian soccer team as they failed to score any goals. They made some progress, however, at the 2006 Germany FIFA World Cup where they reached the second round after a grueling defeat by the final champions, Italy.

Australia, now under the Asian confederation and led by Pim Verbeek of the Netherlands, was one of the first world soccer qualifying countries for World Cup 2010. The now experienced Socceroos are considered a force to be reckoned with, and enter the South Africa World Cup tournament with demanding expectations to improve their previous results.

The Champion Soccer World Cup Players

Tim Cahill, an attacking midfielder is undeniably one of the best Australian players, along with Harry Kewell who is the Australian soccer team's rock of inspiration. Brett Emerton, Jason Culina and Vince Grella are right up there as major contributors for the Socceroos' third entry to Soccer World Cup. Thanks to central defender Lucas Neill and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (who has made the most appearances), the Australian soccer squad is recognised for robust defensive abilities.

Australian Soccer Leadership

Pim Verbeek, born in Rotterdam, Netherlands on March 12, 1956, accepted the role of Australian soccer coach in December 2007, just before the start of the world soccer qualifiers for South Africa 2010. Prior to this appointment, Verbeek worked for many years as assistant for South Korea before receiving the wheel for the team.

Whilst Verbeek's hardheaded approach has been the center of debate in Australian media, he is highly respected by his team and has infused a team spirit within the Australian soccer squad causing the team members to be extremely focused and motivated as they prepare for the South Africa World Cup 2010.

Australia FIFA Soccer World Cup Achievements

  • The Australian soccer team has only played in two Soccer World Cup showcases.
  • The team has improved at each event, achieving second round at 2006 Germany World Cup after a defeat by Italy deep into injury time.
  • South Africa World Cup 2010 is the Australian soccer side's second consecutive Soccer World Cup tournament.
  • Top goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer achieved a national record as the team kept a ‘zero opponent goals' record for seven uninterrupted FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
  • With four goals each, Brett Emerton and Tim Cahill have received honours for their goal scoring performances.

Socceroos South Africa World Cup 2010 Fixtures

Date

Time

Match

Venue

Sun June 13

19:30 UK

Germany v Australia

Durban

Sat June 19

15:00 UK

Ghana v Australia

Royal Bafokeng (Rustenburg)

Wed June 23

19:30 UK

Australia v Serbia

Mbombela (Nelspruit)

WATCHING SOCCER IN OZ?

Check out www.sabona.com.au/events for information about where Soccer World Cup matches will be screened in Oz. And if you run a venue that will be screening the match click on the link on www.sabona.com.au/events to submit your details to us.

Information courtesy of http://www.theworldcupsoccersite.com/

 
 
 
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Posted by Richard Baldock
08 Jun 2010



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