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Defending champions Italy will naturally be one of the leading contenders to emerge triumphant at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ South Africa. The only country along with Brazil to have won the tournament twice in succession, Marcello Lippi's men will be vying to match the performance of their pioneering predecessors in 1934 and 1938.
Fabio Cannavaro (C), Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon (GK), Daniele De Rossi, Gianluca Zambrotta, Antonio De Natale.
Having just put together their best ever qualification campaign, Paraguay are entitled to think big ahead of their fourth consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup™ finals. Under the guidance of Argentinian coach Gerardo Martino, the current Albirroja crop look to have what it takes to build on the progress made by their predecessors at France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002, where the Paraguayans reached the Round of 16 before being knocked out by France and Germany respectively.
While maintaining the defensive standards set by those two sides, Los Guaraníes have added an exciting attacking dimension to their game thanks to the emergence of a clutch of powerful and talented forwards with the ability to unsettle any opposing rearguard. That new-found offensive threat could make all the difference as Paraguay look to make amends for their first-round elimination at Germany 2006, a setback that several members of the current squad experienced at first hand and are determined not to repeat in South Africa.
Roque Santa Cruz
After a disastrous campaign four years ago, New Zealand bounced back in emphatic fashion under coach Ricki Herbert to qualify for their first appearance on the world stage in 28 years following a debut showing at Spain 1982. Herbert, and assistant Brian Turner, were both key figures in the campaign nearly three decades ago. The duo have turned the All Whites into a solid unit whose rearguard, the fifth-placed Asian nation Bahrain was unable to breach over 180 minutes of the intercontinental play-off.
Four years after elimination by the Solomon Islands, the Kiwis claimed the Oceania crown to earn a trip to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where they showed solid form after a poor opening against European champions Spain. The dramatic South Africa 2010 play-off victory against Bahrain united the Rugby-mad nation behind the All Whites like never before, resulting in a national record crowd in the capital Wellington for the decisive qualifier.
Appearing for the first time in a major international competition, Slovakia have been striving to relive the glory years enjoyed by the former Czechoslovakia since going it alone in 1993.
While their team is hardly filled with household names, Slovakia can nonetheless rely on a well-organised collective with plenty of admirable qualities. Likewise, their continuing progress gives them good reason to be optimistic about their voyage to South Africa.
Favorite Teams in Group F to Qualify the last 16.
Italy and Portugal (Based on Performance and Experience of the teams).
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