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FIFA World Cup 2010

The biggest sporting event in the world is just over a year away. That, of course, is the FIFA World Cup, the prestigious soccer event that takes place once every four years.

South Africa will be the host for the 2010 World Cup, which will be staged in a variety of South African cities including Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, and Bloemfontein. The tournament will begin on June 11, 2010 and conclude exactly one month later on July 11. Johannesburg, the country’s largest city, will host the championship match in Soccer City Stadium, which is currently undergoing renovations to be new and improved in time for the World Cup.

Although the big event is still 18 months away, a long and grueling qualification process has already begun. South Africa automatically qualifies for the field of 32 teams, but the livescore 31 other spots are still up for grabs. Qualifying matches began in August of 2007 and will finish in November of 2009. The draw ceremony to place the 32 finalists in groups will be held in December of 2009.

At the moment, various qualifying tournaments are taking place around the world. World Cup hopefuls are vying for 13 spots among European nations, five spots for African teams (in addition to South Africa), four or five for South America, three or four for North America, Central America, and Caribbean, and either no spots or one for Oceania.

In Asia, Australia and the Korea Republic are currently leading the way in their respective qualification groups. In Europe, Denmark, Greece, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, England, Serbia, Italy, and the Netherlands are atop the groups. Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile are currently looking good in South America. Qualifying matches in Africa and the North /Central America and Caribbean divisions have yet to commence.

Once qualifying concludes and sets the stage for the December 2009 draw ceremony in Cape Town, the 32 World Cup participants will be placed into eight groups of four teams. Each team in a group plays every other team in its group and the top two teams (16 total) advance to the knockout stage, which will take place between June 26, 2009 and June 29.

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