Friday, 4 December 2009

[WC 2010] Italy handed kind draw

World champions Italy have been drawn to face Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand in the group stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

FIFA World Cup 2010 DrawMarcello Lippi's men will open the defence of their world title against Paraguay in Cape Town on 14 June, then play New Zealand in Nelspruit on 20 June and Slovakia in Johannesburg four days later.

If the Azzurri emerge from Group F they will play either the Netherlands, Denmark, Japan or Cameroon for a place in the quarter-finals, where they could meet favourites Brazil or Spain.

"The more you concentrate on easy teams in the group stage the more they become difficult," Lippi commented after the draw ceremony in Cape Town.

"We will face important opponents. We are neither satisfied nor disappointed. We've got to prepare and study these teams and their characteristics and then face them at our best."

Five-time champions Brazil face a daunting group that includes Portugal, Ivory Coast and North Korea, while European champions Spain are unlikely to fear Chile, Switzerland or Honduras.

The Netherlands, ranked number three in the world, must navigate their way past Denmark, Cameroon and Japan in Group E.

Fabio Capello's England were drawn with the United States of America, Algeria and Slovenia, and three-time winners Germany will take on Serbia, Ghana and Australia.

Two-time champions Argentina are pooled with 2004 European champions Greece, Nigeria and South Korea.

France, the 1998 winners and 2006 runners-up, will play hosts South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay, who staged and triumphed at the first World Cup in 1930.

The South Africans will get the tournament started against Mexico in Johannesburg on 11 June. The final is scheduled for 11 July.

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France.
Group B: Argentina, South Korea, Nigeria, Greece.
Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia.
Group D: Germany, Australia, Ghana, Serbia.
Group E: Netherlands, Japan, Cameroon, Denmark.
Group F: Italy, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia.
Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Cost, Portugal.
Group H: Spain, Honduras, Chile, Switzerland.

FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010
[Draw] - [Schedule] - [Reaction] - [Italy base] - [Italy friendlies]

Source: FIFA

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