Switzerland Team Profila 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

Switzerland will be appearing at the FIFA World Cup finals for the ninth time when next summer's tournament gets underway in South Africa, where coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and his men are aiming for more than just a supporting role.

The former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich boss took the national helm after Switzerland's disappointing showing at UEFA EURO 2008, and has now led them to their second FIFA World Cup finals in a row. The Swiss made it to the Round of 16 at the 2006 event in Germany, where they were unluckily eliminated on penalties by Ukraine.

The Swiss boast a healthy blend of youth and experience, combining talented younger players such as Eren Derdiyok, Tranquillo Barnetta and keeper Diego Benaglio with seasoned campaigners like Alexander Frei and Blaise N'Kufo. The current team is hoping at least to emulate the achievements of their forebears who made the last eight in 1934, 1938 and 1954.

Switzerland team road to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Hitzfeld and his team made a distinctly inauspicious start on the road to the 2010 finals. After conceding in the final minute to draw away to Israel, a disastrous 2-1 defeat to minnows Luxembourg in Zurich brought shame and embarrassment on the team.

However, the cringeworthy defeat ultimately acted as a wake-up call, and the Swiss duly reeled off five wins on the spin, against Latvia (2-1), Greece (2-1 and 2-0) and Moldova (2-0 and 2-0). They only dropped points again in a 2-2 draw away to the Latvians.

A comfortable 3-0 revenge victory in Luxembourg and a goalless draw with Israel in front of a delirious Basel crowd sealed top spot in European Group 2 and a confirmed place in South Africa for Frei and company.

The star players of Switzerland team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Alexander Frei is the undisputed chief on and off the field of play. The Basel striker, who is his country's all-time record goalscorer, was Hitzfeld's natural choice as national team captain. He finished the qualifying campaign on five goals.

That total was equalled by Blaise N'Kufo of Twente Enschede. The striker, who was born in Kinshasa (DR Congo), was first called up by the Swiss in 2000 and has struck up a productive attacking partnership with Frei.

The coach of Switzerland team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

Ottmar Hitzfeld is one of Europe's most highly regarded and most successful senior coaches. He is one of only two men to guide two different clubs to UEFA Champions League glory (Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich).

He became Switzerland head coach on 1 July 2008, and after a bumpy settling-in period, led his team to a direct qualifying berth for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The former Germany amateur international, who appeared at the 1972 Olympic Games, is no stranger to Switzerland after spending spells with Basel (1971-75), Lugano (1978-80) and Lucerne (1980-83) in his playing days.

Previous FIFA World Cups

  • In South Africa, Switzerland will be appearing at the FIFA World Cup for the ninth time.
  • The Swiss reached the quarter-finals in 1934, 1938 and 1954. They were knocked out in the Round of 16 at the 2006 finals in Germany.


Chile Team Profile World Cup 2010

Chile's recent renaissance has been capped by a return to the FIFA World Cup finals following a 12-year absence. In the international wilderness since France 1998, when Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano showcased their consummate finishing skills, La Roja believe they have the resources to emulate their illustrious predecessors and advance beyond the group phase.

Coached by the experienced Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa, the Chileans qualified for the finals with some ease, atoning for poor performances in the qualifying competitions for Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006, when they finished ninth and seventh respectively. And having finally found talented replacements to fill the void left by the Za-Sa partnership, hopes are high that they can go on and excel themselves in South Africa.

Chile team road to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Bielsa's side, which boasts the youngest average age of all the South American teams, finished second in the continental qualifying group, just one point behind Brazil. That performance, their best since the group format was introduced, was rounded off in style with a spectacular 4-2 win in Colombia in October, a result that rubber-stamped their return to the world elite with one game remaining.

In total, La Roja would win 16 of their 33 points away from Santiago, an impressive statistic that underlines the resolve of the team.
Raising expectations further is the fact that the attack-minded Chileans ended the group as the second-highest scorers with 32 goals, including ten from top marksman Humberto Suazo, and recorded ten wins in all, more than any of their continental rivals.

The star players of Chile team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
As you might expect of a compact side that likes to get forward at every opportunity, Chile's star performers are to be found in advanced positions. Leading the line with distinction are Matias Fernandez, Alexis Sanchez and Humberto Suazo, three players who teamed up to great effect for domestic giants Colo Colo in 2006 and who have since gone their separate ways.

The scheming Fernandez and the explosively talented Sanchez form part of a new breed of Chilean footballer anxious to build reputations abroad, while the more experienced Suazo is a lethal finisher with a happy knack for appearing in the right place at the right time.

The coach of Chile team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

Marcelo Bielsa was the man in charge of Argentina's ill-fated bid for glory at the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002. While memories of La Albiceleste's shock first-round exit in the Orient linger, Bielsa has given himself a shot at redemption by engineering Chile's unlikely revival.

Nicknamed El Loco (The Madman) for his unique dedication to the game, the 54-year-old strategist enjoyed only a brief playing career but commands the respect of players, fellow coaches and reporters alike. The hard-working and principled Bielsa is a devoted student of tactics and an advocate of enterprising football, characteristics that have earned him huge popularity in his adopted homeland, where the fans are anxious for him to remain in the post for many years to come.

Previous FIFA World Cups

  • Chile will be taking part in the FIFA World Cup finals for the eighth time at South Africa 2010.
  • Their best performance to date came when they hosted the tournament in 1962 and finished third.

  • Guillermo Subiabre (1930), Leonel Ramirez (1962) and Marcelo Salas (1998) are Chile's top scorers in the finals with four goals apiece.


Honduras Team Profile World Cup 2010

Honduras reached the finals of the FIFA World Cup for only the second time in dramatic fashion, an equaliser in the dying seconds of the USA's clash with Costa Rica triggering frantic celebrations from Los Catrachos' fans thousands of miles further south. Yet despite having squeezed into the finals, coach Reinaldo Rueda's talented team will not be going to South Africa just to make up the numbers.

Honduras team road to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Rueda's men dug deep from the off to oust Puerto Rico 6-2 on aggregate to progress to the penultimate round of North, Central America and Caribbean Zone qualifying. Once there they successfully negotiated a tricky section to qualifying for the final six-team Hexagonal round ahead of Mexico, Jamaica and Canada.

The decisive final phase could barely have got off to a worse start, however, with La Bicolor sinking to a 2-0 reverse away to fierce rivals Costa Rica. A 1-1 draw in Trinidad and Tobago and a 3-1 home win over mighty Mexico got their bid back on track, only for Honduras to suffer a narrow 2-1 defeat in the United States. A run which included wins over El Salvador (1-0), Costa Rica (4-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (4-1) and a 1-0 reverse on Mexican soil then gave Los Catrachos the opportunity to clinch their passage to South Africa in the penultimate round of qualifying against the USA.

Wasteful finishing and a resilient Stars and Stripes display contributed to a 3-2 reverse in San Pedro Sula, which meant that Honduras now had to win their final match in El Salvador and hope for a favourable result between United States-Costa Rica. And despite having clinched a 1-0 win in San Salvador, the Hondurans would have missed out on direct qualification had it not been for that last-gasp American equaliser.

The star players of Honduras team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Over and above the country's big-name stars plying their trade in the European game, Los Catrachos' key man in qualifying was evergreen 36-year-old forward Carlos Pavon. In typically clinical fashion, it was the well-travelled goalgetter who fired his side's winner in El Salvador to ensure their place at the African showpiece. Aided and abetted by the hugely talented David Suazo, Wilson Palacios, Julio Leon and Amado Guevara, Pavon would love nothing more than to crown his glorious international career with a goal-laden showing on the biggest stage of all.

The coach of Honduras team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
For Honduras, qualifying phases for the FIFA World Cup qualifying had become something of a recurring nightmare. Always among the pre-event favourites, La Bicolor invariably contrived to fall short at key moments - that is until the arrival of 42-year-old Colombian strategist Rueda.

After taking the job in early 2007, his professionalism struck a chord with the powers that be in Honduran football, who gave him the time to work denied many of his predecessors. Rueda repaid that faith by guiding his adopted country to South Africa 2010 on the back of sparkling attacking football and a solid backline.

Previous FIFA World Cups
  • Honduras return to global football's top table after 28 years away. Their only previous appearance at the finals came at Spain 1982.
  • Under the watchful eye of then coach Jose de la Paz, Los Catrachos surprised the world by drawing 1-1 with the hosts and then with Northern Ireland, before exiting the tournament after conceding a late goal in a 1-0 defeat by the former Yugoslavia.
  • On the scoresheet for Honduras at that FIFA World Cup were Hector Zelaya and Antonio Laing, against Spain and Northern Ireland respectively.

  • Prior to the 3-2 defeat by the United States in San Pedro Sula, Honduras had racked up an eight-game unbeaten home run in South Africa 2010 qualifying.
  • Honduras conceded just 11 goals in the final Hexagonal, the best defensive record in the section.
  • Veteran sharpshooter Pavon was Los Catrachos' most prolific scorer in qualifying, helping himself to an impressive seven goals in nine appearances.


Côte d'Ivoire Team Profile World Cup 2010

If an African team is to make a major impact on the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire are seen by many as the most likely candidates. And with world class talent throughout the starting 11, it's no wonder. Les Elephants also a point to prove after being eliminated in the first round at Germany 2006, albeit in an extremely difficult group, where they lost 2-1 to giants Argentina and the Netherlands before coming from two goals down to beat Serbia and Montenegro 3-2.

With more experience, and a little more luck in the draw, Didier Drogba and Co are certain to be a handful in attack as they look to cement their emerging pedigree on the international level at South Africa 2010.

Côte d'Ivoire team road to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Befitting their status as one of the continent's powerhouses, Côte d'Ivoire strode through qualifying without losing a match, running away with their final qualifying group ahead of Burkina Faso, Malawi and Guinea. There only moment of genuine uncertainty came when they were on the brink of qualifying, although - as usual - Didier Drogba responded when his team needed him. The Chelsea man's decisive 70th-minute goal at Burkina Faso gave the side just enough insurance to hold off the Stallions 3-2 in Ouagadougou, and fittingly, it was his dramatic equaliser after coming off the bench against Malawi that gave the West Africans a 1-1 draw and the point they needed to reach South Africa. All told, the Chelsea man was top scorer for Les Elephants, with six goals in five matches.

The star players of Côte d'Ivoire team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Les Elephants feature top-drawer talent throughout their side, with the Chelsea pair of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou a formidable duo up front. Sevilla's Didier Zokora and Barcelona's Yaya Toure provide bite in midfield alongside Marseille's diminutive Bakary Kone, while the England-based pair of Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure combine with Stuttgart's Arthur Boka to form one of the best defences in Africa.

The coach of Côte d'Ivoire team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Vahid Halilhodzic took the reins of his first national side when he assumed control of Côte d'Ivoire after the 2008 CAF African Cup of Nations. However, the Bosnian only made it through the next edition of the continental contest when he was sacked after a disappointing quarter-final finish at Angola 2010. After Guus Hiddink and Bernd Schuster were both linked with the job, Sven-Goran Eriksson was given the helm just months before the start of the finals.

South Africa 2010
will be Eriksson's third FIFA World Cup after leading England to the quarter-finals at both the 2002 and 2006 finals. He had an unsuccessful stint with Mexico in the first half of qualifying for 2010, but he was sacked after less than a year. He is a vastly experienced club coach, having led Gothenburg to the UEFA Cup in 1982, and leading teams in Portugal, England and Italy.

  • Côte d'Ivoire were the only nation at Germany 2006 whose squad was made up of players entirely based at clubs outside their home country.
  • They are the only team to never failed to score in a FIFA World Cup match.
  • Côte d'Ivoire conceded early goals in all three of their 2006 matches, with all six of their goals against coming before the 40th minute.


Korea DPR Team Profile World Cup 2010

Korea DPR seemingly came from nowhere to storm into the Asian Zone's final round of qualifying, where they defied sizeable odds to take one of the continent's four automatic spots at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. In a sense they lived up to their long-standing reputation as Asia's surprise packages, their qualifying success marking a return to world football's top table for the first time since going all the way to the last eight in 1966.

After spending nearly 30 years in wilderness, the past decade saw the revival of the nation's footballing fortunes. With their women's football teams running riot at all levels on the international scene, the men's side came close to qualifying for Germany 2006 before successfully negotiating the road to South Africa 2010.

Korea DPR road to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
To reach the 2010 showpiece, Korea DPR went through a gruelling qualifying campaign spanning 20 months and a whopping 16 games. They made light work of Mongolia in the Asian Zone's first qualifying round, winning both home and away to earn a bye to the third round as one of the 11 highest-ranked first-round winners. Once there, they finished second in their group behind southern neighbours Korea Republic to qualify for the final round.

There they got off to a brilliant start by defeating UAE 2-1, before holding Korea Republic to a 1-1 draw. Despite losing to Iran 2-1 in the next game, they bounced back with a 1-0 home win against Saudi Arabia. Even a 1-0 loss to Korea Republic did not dent their chances too badly, followed as it was with a draw against Iran which kept them in second place. Needing just a point against Saudi Arabia in the closing game to qualify, they bravely held on for a goalless draw to seal their passage.

The star players of Korea DPR team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Two-thirds of the squad come from domestic clubs, though their small overseas-based contingent are vital cogs in the Korean machine. FC Rostov's Hong Yong-Jo was in lethal form up front, the 27-year-old goalgetter scoring four times in as many games. Playing alongside him is Japan-based Jong Tae-Se, who has the power and pace to breach any rearguard. Home-based midfielder Mun In-Guk is the man who makes the team tick, while keeper Ri Myong-Guk's safe hands and agility can be relied upon between the sticks.

The coach of Korea DPR team in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Coach Kim Jong-Hun was only ten years old when the Chollima made history at England 1966 and now, 43 years on, he was the man who guided them back to the pinnacle of world football. Given his squad largely consists of domestic-based players lacking in international experience, the strategist favours a pragmatic and defensive approach based around discipline and teamwork.

Previous FIFA World Cups
Going into the global showpiece as debutants in England in 1966, the unfancied East Asians undid European heavyweights Italy with a single-goal victory to march into the quarter-finals. In what remains one of the all-time classic encounters in FIFA World Cup history, they flew into a three-goal lead against Portugal within 25 minutes, only for Eusebio to go on to strike no fewer than four times in a 5-3 comeback win for the Selecção das Quinas.

  • Korea DPR reached the last eight in their last and only previous appearance at the finals of a FIFA World Cup.



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