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Despite a tortuous qualification campaign, Argentina are travelling to South Africa with serious designs on winning the title for the first time in 24 years. To achieve that goal, the 1978 and 1986 world champions have pinned their faith in coach Diego Armando Maradona, the country's most famous footballing son and the inspiration behind the second of those memorable triumphs.
His task is made easier by the fact that he has a star-studded squad at his disposal, one that features several survivors of the team that reached the quarter-finals at Germany 2006, not to mention Lionel Messi and a host of other young stars with several youth titles to their name. Given that roll call, the Argentinians appear to have the resources to atone for recent disappointments and win the country's first international trophy since the Copa America in 1993.
Linel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Diego Milito, Martin Demichelis,
Diego Maradona (Includes in All-time Legends), Gabriel Omar Batistuta, Hernan Crespo.
Expectations are diminished for Nigeria at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, but it was not long ago that the Super Eagles were seen as the most likely African nation to finally reach the last four of a FIFA World Cup. And though they have just one point from their last five matches in the finals and missed out on Germany 2006 altogether, the continent’s most populous nation looks likely to be a dangerous dark horse with little to lose up against the world’s best.
That was how the side came to USA 94, where they dismantled eventual semi-finalists Bulgaria 3-0 in their first match before going on to cruelly fall 2-1 against Italy in the second round. However, that was not before the likes of Sunday Oliseh, Victor Ikpeba, Jay-Jay Okocha and Finidi George had become synonymous with the next generation of explosive African football. A similarly quick start in 1998 - they stunned Spain 3-2 in one of the matches of the tournament to start and beat Bulgaria again 1-0 - gave way to another second round defeat, this time a disheartening thumping at the hands of Denmark 4-1. But after dramatically reaching South Africa in their final qualifier, Nigeria could be forgiven for going ininto the finals with a positive attitude.
Obafemi Martins, John Obi Mikel, Nwanko Kanu
Korea Republic (South Korea)
Asia's most frequent visitors to the FIFA World Cup™, Korea Republic are also the continent's most successful team at the showpiece event. The Taeguk Warriors will be hoping to translate their regional dominance on to the world stage again when South Africa 2010 kicks off.
Park Ji Sung (C), Lee Yong Pyo, Ahn Jung Hwan.
Ahn Jung Hwan.
After seemingly coming from nowhere to triumph at UEFA EURO 2004, Greece continue to defy the odds under wily coach Otto Rehhagel and have clinched qualification for only their second FIFA World Cup™ finals.
Though dismissing Rehhagel would have amounted to high treason, given the regal status ‘King Otto’ has enjoyed since victory on Portuguese soil, failure to reach Germany 2006 and a limp group-stage exit at EURO 2008 had ratcheted up the pressure on the German supremo. The Greek FA kept the faith, however, and were rewarded by qualification for their first global finals since USA 1994.
Favorite Teams in Group B to Qualify the last 16.
Argentina and Nigeria or Korea Republic (South)(Based on Performance and Experience of the teams).
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