Saturday, 12 December 2009


179 days remain until South Africa 2010 kicks off. The last World Cup finals match was played on July 9 2006 when Italy beat France in Berlin on penalties following a 1-1 draw to become World Champions for a fourth time.

Host nation South Africa will play Mexico in the opening match next summer in Group A - a match that they will be desperate to get something from given that failure to qualify for the second round would put them in the history books as the only host nation not to have got past the group stages. Games against Uruguay and France will follow.

Group A mirrors the group of host nation England in 1966, who were also drawn with France, Uruguay and Mexico. That might be a lucky omen - two wins and a draw saw England top the group and go on to lift the World Cup.

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