Teams: SPAIN (2), CHILE (18), SWITZERLAND (24), HONDURAS (38)
Spain are the outright favourites to win this group. Chile are likely to fight it out with Switzerland for second place. Honduras are not expected to achieve much, but could upset one of the stronger teams to affect the final outcome of this group.
Previous World Cups: 1934 – QF, 1950 – SF (4th), 1962 – R1, 1966 – R1, 1978 – R1, 1982 (hosts) – PQF, 1986 – QF, 1990 – PQF, 1994 – QF, 1998 – R1, 2002 – QF, 2006 – PQF.
2010 – qualified on Sep-05, 2009; 7th team to qualify.
Head Coach: Vicente DEL BOSQUE (ESP – age 59)
01. Iker CASILLAS (G – age 29) Real Madrid (ESP) (C) (02) (06)
05. Carles PUYOL (D – age 32) Barcelona (ESP) (02) (06)
08. Xavi HERNANDEZ (M – age 30) Barcelona (ESP) (02) (06)
11. Joan CAPDEVILA (D – age 32) Villarreal (ESP)
20. Javi MARTINEZ(M – age 21) Athletic Bilbao (ESP)
Spain, the current European champions, are looking forward to the 2010 World Cup as their best ever opportunity to win the ultimate prize in football. They have a balanced all round team consisting of world class players in practically every position. They had the best record among all teams in qualification, winning each and every match, and they hope to continue that form during the forthcoming campaign.
In goal captain Iker Casillas of Real Madrid is one of the very best in the world. His deputies Pepe Reina of Liverpool and Victor Valdes of Barcelona are also splendid keepers.
In defence, veterans Carles Puyol of Barcelona, Carlos Marchena of Valencia and Joan Capdevilla of Villarreal are joined by the younger Gerard Pique of Barcelona, and Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa and Raul Albiol of Real Madrid, to form a formidable bank of defenders to choose from.
In spite of having a solid defence, the midfield is Spain’s real strength, though. The Barcelona pair of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta form the hub of the midfield. Alongside them are such ball players like Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal, Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid and David Silva of Valencia. Talented youngsters like Juan Manuel Mata of Valencia, Sergio Busquets of Barcelona, Javi Martinez of Bilbao and the slightly older Jesus Navas of Sevilla are also in contention.
The attack consists of Fernando Torres of Liverpool and David Villa of Valencia – a duo that can cause serious damage to any defence in the world. Fernando Llorente of Bilbao and Pedro Rodriguez of Barcelona provide adequate cover for the top two.
With all these talented footballers, Spain are looking ominous indeed.
Previous World Cups: 1930 – QF, 1950 – R1, 1962 (hosts) – SF (3rd), 1966 – R1, 1974 – R1, 1982 – R1, 1998 – PQF.
2010 – qualified on Oct-10, 2009; 17th team to qualify.
Head Coach: Marcelo BIELSA (ARG – age 54)
01. Claudio BRAVO (G – age 27) Real Sociedad (ESP) (C)
02. Ismael FUENTES (D – age 28) Universidad Catolica (CHI)
03. Ponce WALDO (D – age 27) Universidad Catolica (CHI)
04. Mauricio ISLA (D – age 22) Udinese (ITA)
05. Pablo CONTRERAS (D – age 31) PAOK Salonika (GRE)
06. Carlos CARMONA (M – age 23) Reggina (ITA)
07. Alexis SANCHEZ (F – age 21) Udinese (ITA)
08. Arturo VIDAL (M – age 23) Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
09. Humberto SUAZO (F – age 29) Real Zaragoza (ESP)
10. Jorge VALDIVIA (M – age 26) Al Ain (UAE)
11. Mark GONZALEZ (F – age 25) CSKA Moscow (RUS)
12. Miguel PINTO (G – age 26) Universidad de Chile (CHI)
13. Marco ESTRADA (M – age 27) Universidad de Chile (CHI)
14. Matias FERNANDEZ (M – age 24) Sporting CP (POR)
15. Jean BEAUSEJOUR (F – age 26) America (MEX)
16. Fabian ORELLANA (F – age 24) Xerez (ESP)
17. Gary MEDEL (D – age 22) Boca Juniors (ARG)
18. Gonzalo JARA (D – age 24) West Bromwich Albion (ENG)
19. Gonzalo FIERRO (M – age 27) Flamengo (BRA)
20. Rodrigo MILLAR (M – age 28) Colo Colo (CHI)
21. Rodrigo TELLO (M – age 30) Besiktas (TUR)
22. Esteban PAREDES (F – age 29) Colo Colo (CHI)
23. Luis MARIN (G – age 27) Union Espanola (CHI)
Under their Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, Chile are one of the most improved sides in world football recently. They finished second to Brazil in the South American Qualifying competition and come to the World Cup buoyant and confident, expecting to upset a few fancied sides.
Captain Claudio Bravo of Real Sociedad is a superb keeper. He has two competent understudies in Luis Marin of Espanola and Miguel Pinto of Universidad.
The defence consists of players like Pablo Contreras of PAOK, Gonzalo Jara of WBA, Gary Medel of Boca Juniors and the Catolica pair of Waldo Ponce and Ismael Fuentes. Young Mauricio Isla of Udinese is a recent addition to the side – he is highly rated in Italy. Arturo Vidal of Leverkusen is another promising defender.
Matias Fernandez of Sporting CP, Jorge Valdivia of Al Ain and Rodrigo Tello of Besiktas form the core of the Chilean midfield. Gonzalo Fierro of Flamengo is a superb ball player, while Rodrigo Millar of Colo Colo is known for his versatility.
Up front Humberto Suazo of Real Zaragoza is Chile’s main striker, ably assisted by Mark Gonzalez of CSKA Moscow. Gonzalez is one of the fastest runners in international football and is popularly known as “Speedy” Gonzalez. Alexis Sanchez of Udinese is another striker of class in the squad.
Previous World Cups: 1934 – QF, 1938 – QF, 1950 – R1, 1954 (hosts) – QF, 1962 – R1, 1966 – R1, 1994 – PQF, 2006 – PQF.
2010 – qualified on Oct-14, 2009 –20th team to qualify.
Head Coach: Ottmar HITZFELD (GER – age 61)
01. Diego BENAGLIO (G – age 26) Wolfsburg (GER) (06)
02. Stephan LICHTSTEINER (D – age 26) Lazio Roma (ITA)
03. Ludovic MAGNIN (D – age 31) Zurich (SUI) (06)
04. Philippe SENDEROS (D – age 25) Everton (ENG) (06)
05. Steve VON BERGEN (D – age 27) Hertha Berlin (GER)
06. Benjamin HUGGEL (M – age 32) Basel (SUI)
07. Tranquillo BARNETTA (M – age 25) Bayer Leverkusen (GER) (06)
08. Gokhan INLER (M – age 25) Udinese (ITA)
09. Alexander FREI (F – age 30) Basel (SUI) (C) (06)
10. Blaise NKUFO (F – age 35) Twente (NED)
11. Valon BEHRAMI (M – age 25) West Ham United (ENG) (06)
12. Marco WOLFLI (G – age 27) Young Boys (SUI)
13. Stephane GRICHTING (D – age 31) Auxerre (FRA) (06)
14. Marco PADALINO (M – age 26) Sampdoria (ITA)
15. Hakan YAKIN (M – age 33) Lucerne (SUI) (06)
16. Gelson FERNANDES (M – age 23) Saint-Etienne (FRA)
17. Reto ZIEGLER (D – age 24) Sampdoria (ITA)
18. Albert BUNJAKU (F – age 26) Nuremburg (GER)
19. Eren DERDIYOK (F – age 22) Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
20. Pirmin SCHWEGLER (M – age 26) Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)
21. Johnny LEONI (G – age 25) Zurich (SUI)
22. Mario EGGIMANN (D – age 29) Hannover (GER)
23. Xherdan SHAKIRI (M – age 18) Basel (SUI)
Under German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, the Switzerland team has a distinctly German flavour – with several Germany based players in the squad. They won their qualifying group easily enough, and are now hoping to make a mark on the finals.
In goal the Swiss have Diego Benaglio of Wolfsburg, a competent keeper. His deputies Marco Wolfli of Young Boys and Johnny Leoni of Zurich are also steady, solid keepers.
The defence has players of experience like Philippe Senderos of Everton, Ludovic Magnin of Zurich and Stephane Grichting of Auxerre. Italy based Stephan Lichtsteiner of Lazio and Reto Ziegler of Sampdoria provide youthful zest and energy.
Veteran Hakan Yakin of Lucerne is the Swiss midfield dynamo. Helping him are the trio of Tranquillo Barnetta of Bayer Leverkusen, Gokhan Inler of Udinese and Valon Behrami of West Ham who provide skill and experience. Other midfielders in the squad include the experienced Benjamin Huggel of Basel, young Gelson Fernandes of Saint Etienne and Marco Padalino of Sampdoria. 18 year old Xherdan Shaqiri of Kosovo Albanian origin is also there – a surprising choice, though he is rated very highly in his club, Basel.
The veteran captain Alexander Frei leads the Swiss attack. He scored 5 goals in qualifying matches, as did the second striker, Blaise Nkufo of Twente. Born in Zaire, the 35 year old Nkufo came rather late into the Swiss national team, but is now regarded as a major player in the squad. Germany based Eren Derdiyok of Leverkusen and Albert Bunjaku of Nuremburg are two other strikers in the squad.
2010 – qualified on Oct-14, 2009; 23rd team to qualify.
01. Ricardo CANALES (G – age 28) Motagua (HON)
02. Osman CHAVEZ (D – age 25) Platense (HON)
03. Maynor FIGUEROA (D – age 27) Wigan Athletic (ENG)
04. Johnny PALACIOS (D – age 23) Olimpia (HON)
05. Victor BERNARDEZ (D – age 28) Anderlecht (BEL)
06. Hendry THOMAS (M – age 25) Wigan Athletic (ENG)
07. Ramon NUNEZ (M – age 25) Olimpia (HON)
08. Wilson PALACIOS (M – age 25) Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)
09. Carlos PAVON (F – age 36) Real Espana (HON)
10. Julio Cesar DE LEON (M – age 30) Torino (ITA)
11. David SUAZO (F – age 30) Genoa (ITA)
12. George WELCOME (F – age 25) Motagua (HON)
13. Roger ESPINOZA (F – age 23) Kansas City Wizards (USA)
14. Oscar GARCIA (D – age 25) Olimpia (HON)
15. Walter MARTINEZ(M – age 28) Marathon (HON)
16. Mauricio SABILLON (D – age 31) Hangzhou Greentown (CHN)
17. Edgar ALVAREZ (M – age 30) Bari (ITA)
18. Noel VALLARDES (G – age 33) Olimpia (HON)
19. Danilo TURCIOS (M – age 32) Olimpia (HON)
20. Amado GUEVARA (M – age 34) Motagua (HON) (C)
21. Emilio IZAGUIRRE (D – age 24) Motagua (HON)
22. Donis ESCOBAR (G – age 30) Olimpia (HON)
23. Sergio MENDOZA (D – age 29) Motagua (HON)
Honduras have qualified for their second World Cup finals, their first since 1982. They are expected to be the chopping blocks of this group. However, under their Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda, they are an organised team, and they have quite a few players to cause problems to their opposition, if taken lightly.
In goal is Noel Vallardes of Olimpia, an experienced keeper of class and skill. The defence includes Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa at left back, Victor Bernardez of Anderlecht and Mauricio Sabillon of Hangzhou, all with top level professional experience.
The midfield is honduras’ real strength. Wilson Palacios of Tottenham and Thomas Hendry of Wigan controls the centre while captain Amado Guevara of Matagua and Julio Cesar de Leon of Torino provide the attacking flair. De Leon is also a free-kick expert. Edgar Alvarez of Bari is an exciting winger.
Genoa striker David Suazo leads the Honduran attack, alongside the veteran Carlos Pavon of Real Espana. US based Roger Espinoza of Kansas City is another promising striker. Walter Martinez of Marathon is an experienced support striker.