Post Ranking: 15

Region: North/Central America and Caribbean

World Cup History: 13th appearance, quarterfinals in 1970 and 1986

Top Player: F Jared Borgetti

Lowdown: El Tri performed well as finals host in 1970 and 1986, but in its last three appearances, the round of 16 has been its downfall -- including a humbling loss to the Americans in 2002. Many believe the program has relinquished the region's top spot to the United States.


Post Ranking: 25

Region: Asia

World Cup History: Third appearance

Top Player: D Hossein Kaebi

Lowdown: Kaebi keys the team's 4-2-3-1 formation. F Ali Daei, 36, has scored more than 100 international goals; he teams up front with Vahid Hashemian (Hannover 96).


Post Ranking: 31

Region: Africa

World Cup History: First appearance

Top Player: MF Akwa

Lowdown: Defeated Nigeria at home and drew with it on the road en route to qualifying. Akwa, the captain, plays in Qatar after having played for Benfica.


Post Ranking: 11

Region: Europe

World Cup History: Fourth appearance, made 1966 semifinals

Top Player: MF Cristiano Ronaldo

Lowdown: Good news: Portugal was the Euro 2004 runner-up and qualified for Germany easily. Bad news: The Portuguese often disappoint, although Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari may be changing that.

Jared Borgetti leads a Mexican side that many say has lost preeminence in its region.