WORLD CUP 2010: Sportsmail's team-by-team guide to the 32 finalists going to South Africa

11 May 2010 08:50
ALGERIACoach: Rabah Saadane

Star player: Karim Ziani (below)

Previous appearances: 1982 (1st rd), 1986 (1st rd)

Chances: Qualifiers for the third time after eliminatingAfrica's continental champions Egypt, Saadane's men are defensivelysolid and are unlikely to be on the wrong end of any thrashings. That said, qualification for the last 16 looks too much to ask although some would argue they should have made the second round in 1982 after beating West Germany 2-1 then watching the Austrians allow the Germans to cynically beat them 1-0 to ensure both went through prompting FIFA ti change the rules.

ARGENTINACoach: Diego Maradona

Star player: Lionel Messi (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (runners-up), 1934 (1st rd), 1958 (1st rd), 1962 (1st rd), 1966 (QF, 1974 (2nd rd), 1978 (winners), 1982 (2nd rd), 1986 (winners), 1990 (runners-up), 1994 (2nd rd), 1998 (QF), 2002 (1st rd), 2006 (QF).

Chances: Qualification was a bumpy ride in the extreme and included a 6-1 hammering by Bolivia, but if Maradona can get the balance right betweenmotivator and tactician then Argentina are equipped to reach the semi-finals, oreven win it. Never write them off with the quality of this squad. 

AUSTRALIACoach: Pim Verbeek

Star player: Tim Cahill  (below)

Previous appearances: 1974 (1st rd), 2006 (2nd rd).

Chances: Impressive under Guus Hiddink at the 2006 finals, they willbelieve they have a good chance to at least match their run to the last16 in South Africa if they get a favourable draw. Beaten in the last World Cup by a poor penalty decision against eventual winners Italy. The Socceroos are hoping to stage the 2018 or 2022 tournaments meaning no qualification nightmares for them. They play in the Asian qualifying rather than Oceania.

BRAZILCoach: Dunga

Star player: Kaka  (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (1st rd), 1934 (1st rd), 1938(semi-finals), 1950 (runners-up), 1954 (QF), 1958(winners), 1962 (winners), 1966 (1st rd), 1970 (winners), 1974 (4thplace), 1978 (3rd place), 1982 (2nd rd),. 1986 (QF),1990 (2nd rd), 1994 (winners), 1998 (runners-up), 2002 (winners),2006 (QF).

Chances: Dunga endured criticism early in his reign butBrazil have now augmented their finesse with power and strength. Theirgreater World Cup pedigree means they head to South Africa as favourites.

Top dogs - as usual: Brazil's Maicon (left) and Robinho will be expected to reach the final

CAMEROONCoach: Paul Le Guen

Star player: Samuel Eto'o (below)

Previous appearances: 1982 (1st rd), 1990 (QF), 1994 (1st rd), 1998 (1st rd), 2002 (1st rd).

Chances: Qualified only thanks to Tunisia stumbling at the last, and will be reliant on Eto'o up front. The second round looks to be about the limit of what they can achieve. Never beyond the first round except in 1990 when they ran into the falling over Gary Lineker. Twice.

CHILECoach: Marcelo Bielsa

Star player: Alexis Sanchez (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (1st rd), 1950 (1st rd), 1962 (1st rd), 1966 (1st rd), 1974 (1st rd), 1982 (first rd), 1998 (1st rd).

Chances: A solid unit under the clever coaching of Argentinian Bielsa, but evenwith the undoubted talents of Sanchez and Matias Fernandez it is very difficult to see them progressing beyond the group phase. 

DENMARKCoach: Morten Olsen

Star player: Christian Poulsen (below)

Previous appearances: 1986 (2nd rd), 1998 (QF), 2002 (2nd rd).

Chances: Not the exciting prospect they were when Olsen was playing back in1986 and they emerged from the original Group of Death as winners ahead of West Germany, but a strong defensive base which includes Daniel Agger, Simon Kjaer and Poulsen in front of them will make them hard to beat. Good bet for a last 16 exit. 

ENGLANDCoach: Fabio Capello

Star player: Wayne Rooney (below)

Previous appearances: 1950 (1st rd), 1954 (QF), 1958 (1st rd), 1962 (QF), 1966 (winners), 1970 (QF), 1982 (2nd rd), 1986 (QF), 1990 (semi-finals), 1998 (2nd rd), 2002 (QF), 2006 (QF).

Chances: Stormed through qualification under Capello, whose winning pedigree in club football suggests a more ruthless and focused England are a good bet for at least a semi-final place.

Keep an eye on us: England skipper John Terry offers his tip

FRANCECoach: Raymond Domenech

Star player: Franck Ribery (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (1st rd), 1934 (1st rd), 1938 (QF), 1954 (1st rd), 1958 (3rd place), 1966 (1st rd), 1978 (1st rd), 1982 (4th place), 1986 (3rd place), 1998 (winners), 2002 (1st rd), 2006 (finalists)

Chances: Struggled in qualifying and secured their place thanks to Thierry Henry's handball in the play-off victory against the Ireland. Domenech makes mystifying tactical decisions and it remains to be seen whether the strength of France's squad is enough to overcome that handicap. Last 16 might be their limit. 

GERMANYCoach: Joachim Loew

Star player: Michael Ballack (below)

Previous appearances: 1934 (3rd place), 1938 (1st rd), 1954 (winners), 1958 (4th place), 1962 (QF), 1966 (runners-up), 1970 (3rd place), 1974 (winners), 1978 (2nd rd), 1982 (runners-up), 1986 (runners-up), 1990 (winners), 1994 (QF), 1998 (QF), 2002(runners-up), 2006 (3rd place).

Chances: Perennial strong performers in tournaments - 32 years since they last failed to make the last eight  - Loew's side are sure to be contenders again in South Africa. If the likes of Ballack, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez click then a quarter-final spot could be the very least they could expect.

  GHANACoach: Milovan Rajevac

Star player: Michael Essien (below)

Previous appearances: 2006 (2nd rd)

Chances: The Black Stars are a sound unit with their top stars playing at the very highest level in Europe. A repeat of their 2006 success would be an excellent achievement, though, even with the excellent MIchael Essien in their ranks.

GREECECoach: Otto Rehhagel

Star player: Theofanis Gekas (below)

Previous appearances: 1994 (1st rd)

Chances: Rehhagel's super-defensive tactics prevailed at Euro 2004 and they secured their second World Cup finals place by beating Ukraine in a play-off. A no-thrills passage to the last 16 is a possibility but too one-dimensional to go any further.

I've got to hand it to you: France coach Raymond Domenech celebrates qualification with Thierry Henry

HOLLANDCoach: Bert van Marwijk

Star player: Wesley Sneijder (below)

Previous appearances: 1938 (1st  rd), 1974 (runners-up), 1978 (runners-up), 1990 (2nd rd), 1994 (QF), 1998 (4th place), 2006 (2nd rd).

Chances: The Oranje made light work of qualification and some brilliant displays at Euro 2008 underlined they can beat anyone on their day. A last-eight place would surely be the minimum goal.

HONDURASCoach: Reinaldo Rueda

Star player: David Suazo (below)

Previous appearances: 1982 (1st rd).

Chances: Rueda's men have some top-level experience with the likes of Suazo based in Italy and Wilson Palacios performing well at Tottenham, but it would be a big shock if Honduras made it to the second round. Were unlucky not make second stage in 1982 when beaten just once.

ITALYCoach: Marcello Lippi

Star player: Andrea Pirlo (below)

Previous appearances: 1934 (winners), 1938 (winners), 1950 (1st rd), 1962 (1st rd), 1966 (1st rd), 1970 (runners-up), 1974 (1st rd, 1978 (1st rd), 1982 (winners), 1986 (2nd rd), 1990 (3rd place), 1994 (runners-up), 1998 (QF), 2002 (2nd rd), 2006 (winners).

Chances: Many of the 2006 side are still in place as they bid to  become first side to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962. Semi-finals look their best hope though.

IVORY COASTCoach: Sven Goran Eriksson

Star player: Didier Drogba (below)

Previous appearances: 2006 (1st rd).

Chances: Man for man the Elephants look about the best side representing Africa next year and could match Cameroon's achievements of 1990 by reaching the last eight. Narrow defeats to Holland and Argentina ended their interest in the last World Cup before last-match defeat of fellow home-goers Serbia & Montenegro. Look for Drgoba to play a key role.

If you want it come and take it: Italy's Fabio Cannavaro with the World Cup

JAPANCoach: Takeshi Okada

Star player: Shunsuke Nakamura (below)

Previous appearances: 1998 (1st rd), 2002 (2nd rd), 2006 (1st rd)

Chances: Qualified without too much difficulty but a young side, augmented bythe experience of the likes of Espanyol and ex-Celtic playmaker Nakamura, are unlikely to get beyond the first stage. Look out also for ex-Arsenal and Fulham midfielder Junichi Inamoto, now playing for Stade Rennais in France and Wolfsburg's Makoto Hasebe - another midfielder. 

MEXICOCoach: Javier Aguirre

Star player: Cuauhtemoc Blanco (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (1st rd), 1950 (1st rd), 1954 (1st rd), 1958 (1st rd), 1962 (1st rd), 1966 (1st rd), 1970 (QF), 1978 (1st rd), 1986 (QF), 1994 (2nd rd), 1998 (2nd rd), 2002 (2nd rd), 2006 (2nd rd)

Chances: Aguirre revived their qualifying campaign after the reign of Sven-Goran Eriksson but they have never been beyond the second round outside Mexico. Conditions in South Africa won't help them.

NEW ZEALANDCoach: Ricki Herbert

Star player: Ryan Nelsen (below)

Previous appearances: 1982 (1st rd).

Chances: The All Whites ensured a global event by qualifying from theOceania region, but few would back them to get beyond the group stage. Last time they got this far they were hammered by everyone - even Scotland.

NIGERIACoach: Lars Lagerback

Star player: John Obi Mikel (below)

Previous appearances: 1994 (2nd rd), 1998 (2nd rd), 2002 (1st rd).

Chances: Internal strife could be the greatest threat to the Super Eagles' hopes, with Amodu expected to be dumped before the finals in favour of a foreign coach. Unlikely to reach the last 16. 

Deep joy: Portugal's players celebrate Raul Meireles's goal against Bosnia that saw them to the World Cup Finals

NORTH KOREACoach: Kim Jong-Hun

Star player: Jong Tae-Se (below)

Previous appearances: 1966 (QF)

Chances: Plenty of attention will fall on the North Koreans, who for political and social reasons will be one of the great curiosities of the finals. Qualification was secured thanks to their tight defence and while they are highly unlikely to get to the last 16, it is equally difficult to imagine them getting hammered.

 PARAGUAYCoach: Gerardo Martino

Star player: Nelson Haedo Valdez (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (1st rd), 1950 (1st rd), 1986 (2nd rd), 1998 (2nd rd), 2002 (2nd rd), 2006 (1st rd).

Chances: At their fourth World Cup in a row, Martino's side are a good bet tosecure a place in the last 16. Valdez and midfielder Cristian Riveros are their star performers, with a solid defence still the base from which they operate. 

PORTUGALCoach: Carlos Queiroz

Star player: Cristiano Ronaldo (below)

Previous appearances: 1966 (3rd place), 1986 (1st rd), 2002 (1st rd), 2006 (4th place).

Chances: As a group the current generation does not quite compare to that of Luis Figo, Rui Costa et al but in Ronaldo they possess arguably the finest player on the planet. Would be disappointed not to get to the last eight inSouth Africa. 

SERBIACoach: Raddy Antic

Star player: Dejan Stankovic (below)

Previous appearances: None (but did qualify as Serbia & Montenegro in 2006).

Chances: Qualified ahead of France and with quality through the spine of theteam in the shape of Nemanja Vidic, Stankovic and the giant Nikola Zigic up front, they would be a good bet for a last-16 place, and possibly a quarter-final. 

We've done it: Slovenian players Nejc Pecnik (right) and Aleksander Radosavljevic celebrate beating Russia in the play-offs

SLOVAKIACoach: Vladimir Weiss

Star player: Marek Hamsik (below)

Previous appearances: None.

Chances: World Cup debutants who possess plenty of individual talent as well as team spirit, but a lack of  pedigree could mean they end up in a difficult group with no chance to progress.

SLOVENIACoach: Matjaz Kek

Star player: Robert Koren (below)

Previous appearances: 2002 (1st rd)

Chances: Stunned Russia in the play-offs after trailing 2-0 at one stage in the first leg but barring a very kind group draw that will surely be the end of the line for Kek's side.

SOUTH AFRICACoach: Carlos Alberto Parreira

Star player: Steven Pienaar (below)

Previous appearances: 1998 (1st rd), 2002 (1st rd)

Chances: 'Bafana Bafana' need to ride the wave of enthusiasm that is sure togreet their World Cup hosting because their form in the build-up has been pretty dire, with Parreira returning to the post after compatriot Joel Santana failed to convince. A last-16 berth is surely the best they can hope for. 

SOUTH KOREACoach: Huh Jung-Moo

Star player: Park Ji-Sung (below)

Previous appearances: 1986 (1st rd), 1990 (1st rd), 1994 (1st rd), 1998 (1st rd), 2002 (4th place), 2006 (1st rd)

Chances: Better equipped to progress from the group phase this time around than in Germany. They are usually physically very well drilled and that stamina should stand them in good stead in the heat of competition. Made the semi-finals in 2002 - at home.

Second favourites: European champions Spain

SPAINCoach: Vicente del Bosque

Star player: Fernando Torres (below)

Previous appearances: 1934 (QF), 1950 (4thplace), 1962 (1st rd), 1966 (1st rd), 1990 (2nd rd), 1994 (QF), 1998(1st rd), 2002 (QF), 2006 (2nd rd).

Chances: World Cup underachievers in the past, Spain have never been better placed to become world champions having broken their habit of freezing by winning Euro 2008.

SWITZERLANDCoach: Ottmar Hitzfeld

Star player: Tranquillo Barnetta (below)

Previous appearances: 1934 (QF), 1938 (QF), 1950 (1st rd), 1954 (QF), 1962 (1st  rd), 1966 (1st rd), 1994 (2nd rd), 2006 (2nd rd).

Chances: In Hitzfeld the Swiss could not wish for a manager with greater nous, and they should get to the second round and maybe even the last eight. Playmaker Barnetta and young goalscorer Eren Derdiyok are the men to watch.

UNITED STATESCoach: Bob Bradley

Star player: Landon Donovan (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (3rd place), 1934 (1st rd), 1950 (1st rd), 1990 (1st), 1994 (2nd), 1998 (1st rd), 2002 (QF), 2006 (1st rd).

Chances: Performed well in the Confederations Cup and Bradley's side possess plenty of players with top-level experience in England and Germany. They would be disappointed not to make it to the last eight.

URUGUAYCoach: Oscar Washington Tabarez

Star player: Diego Forlan (below)

Previous appearances: 1930 (winners), 1950 (winners), 1954 (4th place), 1962(1st round), 1966 (QF), 1970 (4th place), 1974 (1st rd), 1986 (2nd round), 1990 (2nd round), 2002 (1st rd).

Chances: World Cup play-off regulars in recent years, Uruguay will be toughopponents for anyone and will be targeting a place in the last 16. 

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Source: Daily_Mail