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South Africa plays host

South Africa

France is enjoying a charmed life these days, having advanced on a controversial handball against Ireland two weeks ago and getting placed with the weakest seeded team (South Africa). Since losing to Italy in the 2006 final, Les Bleus has endured a rough period that has included internal dissent and disappointing results in important competition. The French will enter as the clear favorite, though susceptible to shortfalls against a host that will ride the wave of nationalism, Mexico's organization and Uruguay's determination. Picks: France, Mexico.

Ribery, France, Soccer

Game Changer

Franck Ribéry,
France

The Bayern Munich midfielder has, through stints with seven different clubs, proved himself as one of the best French players of his generation. Seven goals in 41 caps.

    Stats with national team:
  • Goals: 7
  • Caps: 41
  • Club: Bayern Munich (Germany)

South Africa
  • Region: Africa
  • FIFA Ranking: 33
  • World Cup appearances (titles): 2 (0)
Uruguay
  • Region: South America
  • FIFA Ranking: 19
  • World Cup appearances (titles): 11 (2 - 1930, 1950)
Group Schedule
Date Teams Site
June 11 (10 a.m.) South Africa vs. Mexico Johannesburg
June 11 (2:30 p.m.) Uruguay vs. France Cape Town
June 16 (2:30 p.m.) South Africa vs. Uruguay Pretoria
June 17 (7:30 a.m.) Mexico vs. France Polokwane
June 22 (10 a.m.) Mexico vs. Uruguay Rustenburg
June 22 (10 a.m.) France vs. South Africa Bloemfontein
Tournament Schedule

In group play, each team plays the other three countries in its group once with the top two teams in each pod advancing to the second round. From the Round of 16 on, the tournament is a single-elimination format. The schedule:

  • Round of 16: June 26-29
  • Quarterfinals: July 2-3
  • Semifinals: July 6-7
  • Third-Place: July 10
  • Championship Game: July 11
Tournament Overview

Thirty-two teams have qualified for next summer's World Cup to be held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11. The draw, which was done December 4, broke the field into eight groups. Nine cities will host matches and the tournament will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

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