Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

 

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Teams: ITALY (5), PARAGUAY (30), SLOVAKIA (34), NEW ZEALAND (78)

 

The defending champions Italy are hot favourites to win Group F. Paraguay will fight with Slovakia to gain the other spot. New Zealand are not really expected to do much, and winning even a point shall be quite an achievement.

 
ITALY (ITA):
 
FIFA Ranking: 5
 
17th World Cup Finals.
 

Previous World Cups: 1934 (hosts) – Winners, 1938 – Winners, 1950 – R1, 1954 – R1, 1962 – R1, 1966 – R1, 1970 – Runners’ up, 1974 – R1, 1978 – SF (4th), 1982 – Winners, 1986 – PQF, 1990 (hosts) – SF (3rd), 1994 – Runners’ up, 1998 – QF, 2002 – PQF, 2006 – Winners.

 

2010 – qualified on Oct-10, 2009; 16th team to qualify.

 

Head Coach: Marcello LIPPI (ITA – age 62)

 
Squad:
 

01. Gianluigi BUFFON (G – age 32) Juventus (ITA) (98) (02) (06)

02. Christian MAGGIO (D – age 28) Napoli (ITA)

03. Domenico CRISCITO (D – age 23) Genoa (ITA)

04. Giorgio CHIELLINI (D – age 25) Juventus (ITA)

05. Fabio CANNAVARO (D – age 36) Juventus (ITA) (C) (98) (02) (06)

06. Daniele DE ROSSI (M – age 26) Roma (ITA) (06)

07. Simone PEPE (M – age 26) Udinese (ITA)

08. Gennaro GATTUSO (M – age 32) AC Milan (ITA) (02) (06)

09. Vincenzo IAQUINTA (F – age 30) Juventus (ITA) (06)

10. Antonio DI NATALE (F – age 32) Udinese (ITA)

11. Alberto GILARDINO (F – age 27) Fiorentina (ITA) (06)

12. Federico MARCHETTI (G – age 27) Cagliari (ITA)

13. Salvatore BOCCHETTI (D – age 23) Genoa (ITA)

14. Morgan DE SANCTIS (G – age 33) Napoli (ITA)

15. Claudio MARCHISIO (M – age 24) Juventus (ITA)

16. Mauro CAMORANESI (M – age 33) Juventus (ITA) (06)

17. Angelo PALOMBO (M – age 28) Sampdoria (ITA)

18. Fabio QUAGLIARELLA (F – age 27) Napoli (ITA)

19. Gianluca ZAMBROTTA (M – age 33) AC Milan (ITA) (02) (06)

20. Giampaolo PAZZINI (F – age 25) Sampdoria (ITA)

21. Andrea PIRLO (M – age 31) AC Milan (ITA) (06)

22. Riccardo MONTOLIVO (M – age 25) Fiorentina (ITA)

23. Leonardo BONUCCI (D – age 23) Bari (ITA)

 

Defending champions Italy start as one of the favourites to win the Cup, though it is always difficult to defend a title. They have a balanced team, with plenty of experienced players along with several new talents to make their supporters extremely hopeful.

 

In goal Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus is there for his 4th Cup to provide a superb last line of defence for Italy – probably the best in the world. Both his deputies are however lagely inexperienced in the international arena.

 

The defence is led by captain Fabio Cannavaro of Juventus, also playing in his 4th successive Cup. Age has failed to diminish the incredible talent of this man. Alongside him in central defence is his young club-mate Giorgio Chiellini, on whom Lippi places great hope. Gianluca Zambrotta of Milan is another experienced defender, though apart from these players, there seem to be a lack of established stars in defence – something most unusual for an Italian World Cup squad.

 

Any shortcoming in defence is adequately made up by the hugely talented Italian midfield, arguably the best in the world. Andrea Pirlo of Milan, the free-kick expert, is an influential midfielder, along with such players like Daniele de Rossi of Roma, Gennaro Gattuso of Milan and Mauro Camoranesi of Juventus. They are covered by such talented young players like Simone Pepe of Udinese, Ricardo Montovlio of Fiorentina and Angelo Palombo of Sampdoria.

 

The attack is also very powerful on paper, with forwards like Alberto Gilardino of Fiorentina, Vincenzo Iaquinta of Juventus, Fabio Quagliarella of Napoli and Antonio di Natale of Udinese. Young Giampaolo Pazzini of Sampdoria is another promising striker.

 
 
PARAGUAY (PAR):
 
FIFA Ranking: 30
 

8th World Cup Finals (1st as SERBIA).

 

Previous World Cups: 1930 – R1, 1950 – R1, 1958 – R1, 1986 – PQF, 1998 – PQF, 2002 – PQF, 2006 – R1.

 

2010 – qualified on Sep-09, 2009; 11th team to qualify.

 

Head Coach: Gerardo MARTINO (ARG – age 47)

 
Squad:
 

01. Justo VILLAR (G – age 33) Real Valladolid (ESP) (C) (02) (06)

02. Dario VERON (D – age 30) Pumas UNAM (MEX)

03. Claudio MOREL (D – age 32) Boca Juniors (ARG)

04. Denis CANIZA (D – age 35) Leon (MEX) (98) (02) (06)

05. Julio Cesar CACERES(D – age 30) Atletico Mineiro (BRA) (02) (06)

06. Carlos BONET (D – age 32) Olimpia (PAR) (02) (06)

07. Oscar CARDOZO (F – age 27) Benfica (POR)

08. Edgar BARRETO (M – age 25) Atalanta (ITA) (06)

09. Roque SANTA CRUZ(F – age 28) Manchester City (ENG) (02) (06)

10. Edgar BENITEZ (F – age 22) Pachuca (MEX)

11. Jonathan SANTANA (M – age 28) Wolfsburg (GER)

12. Diego BARRETO (G – age 28) Cerro Porteno (PAR)

13. Enrique VERA (M – age 31) LDU Quito (ECU)

14. Paulo DA SILVA (D – age 30) Sunderland (ENG) (06)

15. Victor CACERES(M – age 25) Libertad (PAR)

16. Cristian RIVEROS (M – age 27) Cruz Azul (MEX) (06)

17. Aureliano TORRES (D – age 28) San Lorenzo (ARG)

18. Nelson VALDEZ(F – age 26) Borussia Dortmund (GER) (06)

19. Lucas BARRIOS (F – age 25) Borussia Dortmund (GER)

20. Nestor ORTIGOZA (M – age 25) Argentinos Juniors (ARG)

21. Antolin ALCARAZ (D – age 27) Brugge (BEL)

22. Aldo BOBADILLA (G – age 34) Independiente Medellin (COL) (06)

23. Rodolfo GAMARRA (F – age 21) Libertad (PAR)

 

Paraguay will be playing in their 8th Cup finals, and their fourth in succession. They have a balanced squad with lots of experienced players.

 

Captain Justo Villar of Real Valladolid is an outstanding keeper, one of the best in South America. His deputy Aldo Bobadilla of Medellin is also a superb keeper.

 

In defence there is Denis Caniza of Leon, playing in his 4th Cup. Two other defenders shall be playing their 3rd Cups – Julio Cesar Caceres of Mineiro and Carlos Bonet of Olimpia. Claudio Morel of Boca Juniors and Paolo da Silva of Sunderland are also there, while Aurelio Torres of San Lorenzo is another versatile defender.

 

The midfield revolves around Edgar Barreto of Atalanta and Cristian Riveros of Cruz Azul. Jonathan Santana of Wolfsburg provides the finesse. Victor Caceres of Libertad and Enrique Vera of LDU Quito are other midfielders in the fray.

 

The main striker for Paraguay is of course Roque Santa Cruz of Manchester City. If fit, he can be a lethal striker and a real menace in the opposition box. Oscar Cardozo of Benfica and Nelson Valdez of Dortmund are expected to support him up front.

 
SLOVAKIA (SVK):
 
FIFA Ranking: 34
 
1st World Cup Finals.
 
Previous World Cups: None.
 

2010 – qualified on Oct-14, 2009; 21st team to qualify.

 

Head Coach: Vladimir WEISS (SVK – age 45)

 
Squad:
 

01. Jan MUCHA (G – age 27) Legia Warsaw (POL)

02. Peter PEKARIK (D – age 23) Wolfsburg (GER)

03. Martin SKRTEL (D – age 25) Liverpool (ENG)

04. Marek CECH (D – age 27) West Bromwich Albion (ENG)

05. Radoslav ZABAVNIK (D – age 29) Mainz (GER)

06. Zdeno STRBA (M – age 34) Skoda Xanthi (GRE)

07. Vladimir WEISS (M – age 20) Bolton Wanderers (ENG)

08. Jan KOZAK (M – age 30) Timisoara (ROM)

09. Stanislav SESTAK (F – age 27) Bochum (GER)

10. Marek SAPARA (M – age 27) Ankaragucu (TUR)

11. Robert VITTEK (F – age 28) Ankaragucu (TUR)

12. Dusan PERNIS (G – age 25) Dundee United (SCO)

13. Filip HOLOSKO (F – age 26) Besiktas (TUR)

14. Martin JAKUBKO (F – age 30) Saturn Moscow (RUS)

15. Miroslav STOCH (M – age 20) Twente (NED)

16. Jan DURICA (D – age 28) Hannover (GER)

17. Marek HAMSIK (M – age 22) Napoli (ITA) (C)

18. Erik JENDRISEK (F – age 23) Kaiserslautern (GER)

19. Juraj KUCKA (M – age 23) Sparta Prague (CZE)

20. Kamil KOPUNEK (M – age 26) Spartak Trnava (SVK)

21. Kornel SALATA (D – age 25) Slovan Bratislava (SVK)

22. Martin PETRAS (D – age 30) Cesena (ITA)

23. Dusan KUCIAK (G – age 25) Vaslui (ROM)

 

Slovakia surprised many pundits by winning their European qualifying group ahead of teams like Slovenia, Czach Republic and Poland. They are now preparing to surprise few others in their World Cup group!

 

In goal Slovakia has Jan Mucha of Legia Warsaw, a highly competent keeper. In front of him the strong Slovak defence is led by Liverpool’s gangling Martin Skrtel and Marek Cech of WBA. Other important players in the defence are Germany based Peter Pekarik of Wolfsburg, Jan Durica of Hannover and Radoslav Zabavnik of Mainz, along with Italy based veteran Martin Petras of Cesena.

 

The midfield will surely miss Miroslav Karhan of Mainz, who is their most capped player ever, and led the team during qualification. In his absence the brilliant young Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik has been named captain – at 22, he’ll probably be the youngest captain in the World Cup this year. Marek Sapara of Ankaragucu and Jan Kozak of Timisoara are other influential players in the Slovak midfield. Young Vladimir Weiss of Bolton, the son of the Slovak coach, and Miroslav Stoch of Twente are two other players with great potential.

 

The Slovak attack is likely to be led by Stanislav Sestak of Bochum, who scored 6 goals in qualification, in six games! Robert Vittek of Ankaragucu is another splendid striker. Filip Holosko of Besiktas and the experienced Martin Jakubko of Saturn are also in the squad.

 
NEW ZEALAND (NZL):
 
FIFA Ranking: 78
 
2nd World Cup Finals.
 
Previous World Cups: 1982 – R1.
 

2010 – qualified on Nov-14, 2009 – 24th team to qualify.

 

Head Coach: Ricki HERBERT (NZL – age 49)

 
Squad:
 

01. Mark PASTON (G – age 33) Wellington Phoenix (NZL)

02. Ben SIGMUND (D – age 29) Wellington Phoenix (NZL)

03. Tony LOCHHEAD (D – age 28) Wellington Phoenix (NZL)

04. Winston REID (D – age 21) Midtjylland (DEN)

05. Ivan VICELICH (D – age 33) Auckland City (NZL)

06. Ryan NESLEN (D – age 32) Blackburn Rovers (ENG) (Captain)

07. Simon ELLIOTT (M – age 36) San Jose Earthquakes (USA)

08. Tim BROWN (M – age 29) Wellington Phoenix (NZL)

09. Shane SMELTZ (F – age 28) Gold Coast United (AUS)

10. Chris KILLEN (F – age 28) Middlesbrough (ENG)

11. Leo BERTOS (M – age 28) Wellington Phoenix (NZL)

12. Glen MOSS (G – age 27) Melbourne Victory (AUS)

13. Andy BARRON (M – age 29) Team Wellington (NZL)

14. Rory FALLON (F – age 28) Plymouth Argyle (ENG)

15. Michael McGLINCHEY (M – age 23) Motherwell (SCO)

16. Aaron CLAPHAM (M – age 23) Canterbury United (NZL)

17. David MULLIGAN (M – age 28) Wellington Phoenix (NZL)

18. Andrew BOYENS (D – age 26) New York Red Bulls (USA)

19. Tommy SMITH (D – age 20) Ipswich Town (ENG)

20. Chris WOOD (F – age 18) West Bromwich Albion (ENG)

21. Jeremy CHRISTIE (M – age 27) Tampa Bay (USA)

22. Jeremy BROCKIE (M – age 22) Newcastle Jets (AUS)

23. James BANNATYNE (G – age 34) Team Wellington (NZL)

 

Not many experts expect New Zealand to earn even a point in the forthcoming World Cup. However, they qualified finally at the expense of Bahrain – a strong upcoming Asian side, and possess a few hardened professionals to trouble the more fancied teams they play.

 

In Mark Paston of Phoenix, New Zealand have a reliable keeper. His deputy Glenn Moss of Melbourne is also a competent keeper.

 

The defence is led by the seasoned Blackburn captain Ryan Nelsen, who also captains the New Zealand side. Alongside him, Ivan Vicelich of Auckland, Tony Lochhead of Phoenix and Andy Boyens of New York form a solid defence. Talented young Tommy Smith of Ipswich has been included in the squad, and it would be interesting to see if he gets to play.

 

Simon Elliott of San Jose has been the centre of the New Zealand midfield for years. Tim Brown and Leo Bertos of Phoenix are also influential players, while Jeremy Christie of Tampa is controls play from the centre.

 

Shane Smeltz of Gold Coast is New Zealand’s main striker, alongside Chris Killen of Middlesbrough. Also in the squad is the exciting young WBA striker Chris Wood, only 18, who might make a mark if given the opportunity. Rory Fallon of Plymouth is another striker in the squad.

 GROUP F
 

Teams: ITALY (5), PARAGUAY (30), SLOVAKIA (34), NEW ZEALAND (78)

 

The defending champions Italy are hot favourites to win Group F. Paraguay will fight with Slovakia to gain the other spot. New Zealand are not really expected to do much, and winning even a point shall be quite an achievement.

 
ITALY (ITA):
 
FIFA Ranking: 5
 
17th World Cup Finals.
 

Previous World Cups: 1934 (hosts) – Winners, 1938 – Winners, 1950 – R1, 1954 – R1, 1962 – R1, 1966 – R1, 1970 – Runners’ up, 1974 – R1, 1978 – SF (4th), 1982 – Winners, 1986 – PQF, 1990 (hosts) – SF (3rd), 1994 – Runners’ up, 1998 – QF, 2002 – PQF, 2006 – Winners.

 

2010 – qualified on Oct-10, 2009; 16th team to qualify.

 

Head Coach: Marcello LIPPI (ITA – age 62)

 
Squad:
 

01. Gianluigi BUFFON (G – age 32) Juventus (ITA) (98) (02) (06)

02. Christian MAGGIO (D – age 28) Napoli (ITA)

03. Domenico CRISCITO (D – age 23) Genoa (ITA)

04. Giorgio CHIELLINI (D – age 25) Juventus (ITA)

05. Fabio CANNAVARO (D – age 36) Juventus (ITA) (C) (98) (02) (06)

06. Daniele DE ROSSI (M – age 26) Roma (ITA) (06)

07. Simone PEPE (M – age 26) Udinese (ITA)

08. Gennaro GATTUSO (M – age 32) AC Milan (ITA) (02) (06)

09. Vincenzo IAQUINTA (F – age 30) Juventus (ITA) (06)

10. Antonio DI NATALE (F – age 32) Udinese (ITA)

11. Alberto GILARDINO (F – age 27) Fiorentina (ITA) (06)

12. Federico MARCHETTI (G – age 27) Cagliari (ITA)

13. Salvatore BOCCHETTI (D – age 23) Genoa (ITA)

14. Morgan DE SANCTIS (G – age 33) Napoli (ITA)

15. Claudio MARCHISIO (M – age 24) Juventus (ITA)

16. Mauro CAMORANESI (M – age 33) Juventus (ITA) (06)

17. Angelo PALOMBO (M – age 28) Sampdoria (ITA)

18. Fabio QUAGLIARELLA (F – age 27) Napoli (ITA)

19. Gianluca ZAMBROTTA (M – age 33) AC Milan (ITA) (02) (06)

20. Giampaolo PAZZINI (F – age 25) Sampdoria (ITA)

21. Andrea PIRLO (M – age 31) AC Milan (ITA) (06)

22. Riccardo MONTOLIVO (M – age 25) Fiorentina (ITA)

23. Leonardo BONUCCI (D – age 23) Bari (ITA)

 

Defending champions Italy start as one of the favourites to win the Cup, though it is always difficult to defend a title. They have a balanced team, with plenty of experienced players along with several new talents to make their supporters extremely hopeful.

 

In goal Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus is there for his 4th Cup to provide a superb last line of defence for Italy – probably the best in the world. Both his deputies are however lagely inexperienced in the international arena.

 

The defence is led by captain Fabio Cannavaro of Juventus, also playing in his 4th successive Cup. Age has failed to diminish the incredible talent of this man. Alongside him in central defence is his young club-mate Giorgio Chiellini, on whom Lippi places great hope. Gianluca Zambrotta of Milan is another experienced defender, though apart from these players, there seem to be a lack of established stars in defence – something most unusual for an Italian World Cup squad.

 

Any shortcoming in defence is adequately made up by the hugely talented Italian midfield, arguably the best in the world. Andrea Pirlo of Milan, the free-kick expert, is an influential midfielder, along with such players like Daniele de Rossi of Roma, Gennaro Gattuso of Milan and Mauro Camoranesi of Juventus. They are covered by such talented young players like Simone Pepe of Udinese, Ricardo Montovlio of Fiorentina and Angelo Palombo of Sampdoria.

 

The attack is also very powerful on paper, with forwards like Alberto Gilardino of Fiorentina, Vincenzo Iaquinta of Juventus, Fabio Quagliarella of Napoli and Antonio di Natale of Udinese. Young Giampaolo Pazzini of Sampdoria is another promising striker.

 
 
PARAGUAY (PAR):
 
FIFA Ranking: 30
 

8th World Cup Finals (1st as SERBIA).

 

Previous World Cups: 1930 – R1, 1950 – R1, 1958 – R1, 1986 – PQF, 1998 – PQF, 2002 – PQF, 2006 – R1.

 

2010 – qualified on Sep-09, 2009; 11th team to qualify.

 

Head Coach: Gerardo MARTINO (ARG – age 47)

 
Squad:
 

01. Justo VILLAR (G – age 33) Real Valladolid (ESP) (C) (02) (06)

02. Dario VERON (D – age 30) Pumas UNAM (MEX)

03. Claudio MOREL (D – age 32) Boca Juniors (ARG)

04. Denis CANIZA (D – age 35) Leon (MEX) (98) (02) (06)

05. Julio Cesar CACERES(D – age 30) Atletico Mineiro (BRA) (02) (06)

06. Carlos BONET (D – age 32) Olimpia (PAR) (02) (06)

07. Oscar CARDOZO (F – age 27) Benfica (POR)

08. Edgar BARRETO (M – age 25) Atalanta (ITA) (06)

09. Roque SANTA CRUZ(F – age 28) Manchester City (ENG) (02) (06)

10. Edgar BENITEZ (F – age 22) Pachuca (MEX)

11. Jonathan SANTANA (M – age 28) Wolfsburg (GER)

12. Diego BARRETO (G – age 28) Cerro Porteno (PAR)

13. Enrique VERA (M – age 31) LDU Quito (ECU)

14. Paulo DA SILVA (D – age 30) Sunderland (ENG) (06)

15. Victor CACERES(M – age 25) Libertad (PAR)

16. Cristian RIVEROS (M – age 27) Cruz Azul (MEX) (06)

17. Aureliano TORRES (D – age 28) San Lorenzo (ARG)

18. Nelson VALDEZ(F – age 26) Borussia Dortmund (GER) (06)

19. Lucas BARRIOS (F – age 25) Borussia Dortmund (GER)

20. Nestor ORTIGOZA (M – age 25) Argentinos Juniors (ARG)

21. Antolin ALCARAZ (D – age 27) Brugge (BEL)

22. Aldo BOBADILLA (G – age 34) Independiente Medellin (COL) (06)

23. Rodolfo GAMARRA (F – age 21) Libertad (PAR)

 

Paraguay will be playing in their 8th Cup finals, and their fourth in succession. They have a balanced squad with lots of experienced players.

 

Captain Justo Villar of Real Valladolid is an outstanding keeper, one of the best in South America. His deputy Aldo Bobadilla of Medellin is also a superb keeper.

 

In defence there is Denis Caniza of Leon, playing in his 4th Cup. Two other defenders shall be playing their 3rd Cups – Julio Cesar Caceres of Mineiro and Carlos Bonet of Olimpia. Claudio Morel of Boca Juniors and Paolo da Silva of Sunderland are also there, while Aurelio Torres of San Lorenzo is another versatile defender.

 

The midfield revolves around Edgar Barreto of Atalanta and Cristian Riveros of Cruz Azul. Jonathan Santana of Wolfsburg provides the finesse. Victor Caceres of Libertad and Enrique Vera of LDU Quito are other midfielders in the fray.

 

The main striker for Paraguay is of course Roque Santa Cruz of Manchester City. If fit, he can be a lethal striker and a real menace in the opposition box. Oscar Cardozo of Benfica and Nelson Valdez of Dortmund are expected to support him up front.

 
SLOVAKIA (SVK):
 
FIFA Ranking: 34
 
1st World Cup Finals.
 
Previous World Cups: None.
 

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