Africa Day

first_imgLegendary jazz musician Hugh Masekela speaks about Africa Day and states his wish for an all year commemoration of the unification of Africans. The South African musician also says Africa would do well to eradicate its internal borders. Watch this video. Click arrow to play video.last_img

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2010 Fifa World Cup team statistics

first_imgClick on image for larger low-resolutionversion, or download high-resolutionimage.MEDIA CONTACTS• Wolfgang Eichler, Fifa Media Officer+27 11 567 2010 or +27 83 2010 471media-sa@fifa.org• Delia Fischer, Fifa Media Officer+27 11 567 2010 or +27 11 567 2524media-sa@fifa.org• Jermaine Craig, Media Manager2010 Fifa World CupLocal Organising Committee+27 11 567 2010 or +27 83 201 0121jermaine.craig@2010oc.comArgentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Denmark … Get to know the 32 teams competing in South Africa’s 2010 Fifa World Cup: the matches they’ll be playing, their past performances in the tournament, their countries as footballing nations and much more. Algeria Argentina Australia Brazil Cameroon Chile Côte d’Ivoire Denmark England France Germany Ghana Greece Honduras Italy Japan Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria North Korea Paraguay Portugal Serbia Slovakia Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Switzerland Uruguay USA  DOWNLOADSRight-click on the link to save the PDF file to your computer.Download 2010 World Cup teams statistics (6 MB)Download 2010 World Cup match schedule (2.3 MB)Download Fifa Team media officers contacts (157 KB)  ALGERIA (ALG)Algeria: Group C matches England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgAlgeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneSlovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgEngland vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSlovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethUSA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaAlgeria: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1982Previous World Cups: 2Best World Cup progress: Groups stages in 1982, 1986Total World Cup matches: 6World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 2 / 1 / 3Percentage of World Cup match wins: 33%Algeria: Footballing nation Association: Fédération Algérienne de Football Year association founded: 1962Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1964Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)Population: 34-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 1.8-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 5.2%Professional footballers: 300Algeria: Overview Algeria will end a 24-year absence from football’s top table when they kick their first ball at the 2010 Fifa World Cup. This will mark their third appearance at a World Cup and they are looking to graduate from the group stage for the first time ever.In 1982, they made history by defeating West Germany 2-1 and Chile 3-2, only to lose 2-0 to Austria. Four years on from their debut, they shared a 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland before losing 1-0 to Brazil and 3-0 to Spain.They earned a place in this year’s World Cup with a 1-0 victory against African champions Egypt in Khartoum, Sudan. Algeria are in Group C, where they will be up against England, the US and Slovenia.Algeria’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP ARGENTINA (ARG)Argentina: Group B matches Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgSouth Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethArgentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgGreece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanGreece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneArgentina: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 14Best World Cup progress: Winners 1978, 1986Total World Cup matches: 65World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 33 / 13 / 19Percentage of World Cup match wins: 51%Argentina: Footballing nation Association: Asociación del Fútbol Argentino Year association founded: 1893Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1912Confederation: South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)Population: 41-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 2.7-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 6.5%Professional footballers: 3 530Argentina: Overview Argentina had a difficult qualifying campaign. The two-time world champions started the campaign under leadership of coach Alfio Basile, but a defeat to Chile relegated them to third place. Coaching was then taken over by former player Diego Armando Maradona.After going down Chile, Argentina fell to a humiliating 6-1 loss to Brazil, their second-ever home qualifying loss. They tallied up six defeats in their fight to qualify. They recorded eight wins and four draws before scraping into the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Uruguay.Despite a tortuous qualification campaign, Argentina is travelling to South Africa with serious plans to win the title for the first time in 24 years. To achieve that goal, the 1978 and 1986 world champions have pinned their faith in coach Maradona, the country’s most famous footballing son and the guiding hand behind the qualifying triumph.Argentina was drawn in Group B to take on Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.Argentina’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP AUSTRALIA (AUS)Australia: Group D matches Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSerbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaGermany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethGhana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgGhana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgAustralia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitAustralia: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1974Previous World Cups: 2Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 2006Total World Cup matches: 7World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 2 / 4Percentage of World Cup match wins: 14%Australia: Footballing nation Association: Football Federation Australia Year association founded: 1961Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1963Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)Population: 21-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 971 000Footballers as percentage of population: 4.6%Professional footballers: 200Australia: Overview Australia has appeared on the world stage just twice, but is now making up for lost time by claiming a second consecutive qualification.After a 32-year absence from the tournament, Australia made a strong statement at the 2006 Fifa World Cup, reaching the knockout stage where it took a last-minute goal from eventual champions Italy to eliminate the team. The current squad, led by Pim Verbeek from the Netherlands, is an experienced group featuring many of the Germany 2006 players.The Australians finished top of their group overcoming some of the best Asian teams to be one of the first nations to book their place in South Africa. They will be playing in Group D against Germany, Serbia and Ghana.Australia squad for the 2010 Fifa World Cup BACK TO TOP BRAZIL (BRA)Brazil: Group G matches Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgCôte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethBrazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgPortugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNorth Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitPortugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanBrazil: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 18Best World Cup progress: Winners 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002Total World Cup matches: 92World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 14 / 14 / 14Percentage of World Cup match wins: 70%Brazil: Footballing nation Association: Confederaçao Brasileira de FutebolYear association founded: 1914Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1923Confederation: South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)Population: 198-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 13.2-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 6.6%Professional footballers: 16 200Brazil: Overview Brazil, the five-time world champions, go into every Fifa World Cup heavily favoured to add yet another star to the legendary yellow and blue jersey. Coach Carlos Dunga will be fully aware that any outcome other than a sixth world crown will likely be considered a failure.In the qualifiers, the Brazillians clinched a South Africa 2010 berth with three match days to spare. Dunga’s team defeated arch-rivals Argentina 3-1 in Rosario to confirm their passage to South Africa.Despite the Brazilian national team position being his first coaching role, Dunga answered those who doubted his credentials by guiding the team to triumph in the 2007 Copa America, the Fifa Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 and to qualifying for South Africa 2010 with room to spare.The triumphant Confederations Cup 2009 campaign cemented Kaká, aka Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, as the man Brazil look to for inspiration. This fact was reflected in him taking the Adidas Golden ball, awarded to the best player of the tournament. Meanwhile, up front, Luis Fabiano proved himself a truly world-class finisher with five goals including a priceless brace in the 3-2 final win over the USA.Brazil have been drawn into a tricky Group G to face Portugal, Côte d’Ivoire and North Korea. As hosts of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, Brazil are keen to take the trophy home to defend it on home turf.Brazil’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP CAMEROON (CMR)Cameroon: Group E matches Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgJapan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNetherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanCameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaDenmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgCameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownCameroon: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1982Previous World Cups: 5Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1990Total World Cup matches: 17World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 4 / 7 / 6Percentage of World Cup match wins: 24%Cameroon: Footballing nation Association: Fédération Camerounaise de FootballYear association founded: 1959Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1964Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)Population: 19-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 786 000Footballers as percentage of population: 4.2%Professional footballers: 540Cameroon: Overview Having competed in the World Cup five times and ranked by Fifa as the top African country, Cameroon is a side to be watched in 2010. They are considered the continental-best. No other African side has beaten their historic run to the Italy 1990 quarter-finals.Though their qualification-clinching 2-0 victory in Morocco was straightforward enough, Cameroon had a tough campaign. They were in the bottom of their group after two games before Paul Le Guen replaced Otto Pfister as coach.Under the new leader they completed an impressive turnaround campaign with two victories in four days over contenders Gabon. This was followed by a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Togo, and Cameroon’s consecutive wins were more than enough to reach South Africa. The Cameroonians will be playing in Group E, taking on the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan.Cameroon will be playing in the World Cup for the sixth time – a new African record.Cameroon’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP CHILE (CHI)Chile: Group H matches Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSpain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSpain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgChile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethSwitzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinChile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaChile: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 7Best World Cup progress: Third-place semi-finalists in 1962Total World Cup matches: 25World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 7 / 6 / 12Percentage of World Cup match wins: 28%Chile: Footballing nation Association: Federación de Fútbol de ChileYear association founded: 1895Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1913Confederation: South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)Population: 17-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 2.6-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 15.7%Professional footballers: 637Chile: OverviewChile last qualified for the Fifa World Cup 12 years ago in France. Coached by the experienced Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa, the Chileans qualified for the finals with some ease, making up for their poor performances in the qualifying competitions for Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006, when they finished ninth and seventh respectively.Bielsa’s side finished second in the continental qualifying group, just one point behind Brazil – their best performance yet. They qualified for the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa with a spectacular 4-2 win in Colombia.Chile will be taking part in the World Cup finals for the eighth time. They will be playing in Group H against Spain, Switzerland and Honduras.Chile’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP CÔTE D’IVOIRE (CIV)Côte d’Ivoire: Group G matches Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgCôte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethBrazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgPortugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNorth Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitPortugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanCôte d’Ivoire: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 2006Previous World Cups: 1Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1962Total World Cup matches: 3World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 0 / 2Percentage of World Cup match wins: 33%Côte d’Ivoire: Footballing nation Association: Fédération Ivoirienne de FootballYear association founded: 1960Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1964Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)Population: 21-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 802 000Footballers as percentage of population: 3.9%Professional footballers: 100Côte d’Ivoire: OverviewIf an African team is to make a major impact on the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire is seen by many as the most likely candidate. Led by coach Vahid Halilhodzic the team cemented their status as one of the continent’s powerhouses when they qualified for 2010 without losing a match.The team feature top-drawer talent such as English Premier League striker Didier Drogba who plays for Chelsea FC and teammate Salomon Kalou – a tough duo up front. Didier Zokora, who plays for Spanish club Sevilla FC , and FC Barcelona’s Yaya Toure are formidable in the midfield. The England-based pair of Arsenal FC player Emmanuel Eboue and Manchester City FC’s Kolo Toure form one of the best defences in Africa.Côte d’Ivoire also have a point to prove after being eliminated in the first round at Germany 2006. With more experience, this team is certain to be a handful in attack. They have been drawn into a tough Group H with Brazil, North Korea and Portugal.Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP DENMARK (DEN)Denmark: Group E matches Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgJapan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNetherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanCameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaDenmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgCameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownDenmark: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1986Previous World Cups: 3Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1988Total World Cup matches: 13World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 7 / 2 / 4Percentage of World Cup match wins: 54%Denmark: Footballing nation Association: Dansk Boldspil-UnionYear association founded: 1889Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1904Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 5-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 511 000Footballers as percentage of population: 9.3%Professional footballers: 852Denmark: OverviewAfter a six-year absence, Denmark is set to explode on the elite world footballing scene. The Fifa founder members blazed an impressive campaign battling against Portugal and Sweden in the European 2010 World Cup qualifying games. They came to top of their group, beating Sweden 1-0 to qualify.Denmark will be looking to extend their creditable record at three previous World Cup appearances, where they reached the second elimination round twice and the quarter-finals on another occasion. In 1986 in Mexico they progressed to the last 16. The core of that team then went on to register the nation’s greatest footballing triumph with the 1992 Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) European Championship crown in neighbouring Sweden.The Uefa European Football Championship is the main football competition of the men’s national football teams governed by Uefa. It has been held every four years since 1960. After winning the Uefa European Championships, the team went on to win the Fifa Confederations Cup in 1995.South Africa will be Denmark’s fourth appearance at the Fifa World Cup. They will be playing in Group E with the Netherlands, Japan, and Cameroon.Denmark’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP ENGLAND (ENG)England: Group C matches England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgAlgeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneSlovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgEngland vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSlovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethUSA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaEngland: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1950Previous World Cups: 12Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1966Total World Cup matches: 55World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 25 / 17 / 13Percentage of World Cup match wins: 46%England: Footballing nation Association: The Football AssociationYear association founded: 1863Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1905Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 61-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 4.2-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 6.8%Professional footballers: 6 100England: OverviewEngland swept into the finals with a 5-1 defeat of Croatia, making it their eighth victory in eight Group 6 matches. Coach Fabio Capello’s side ensured their progress to the finals with two matches to spare.England captain John Terry said: “When we play like that, pressing and working the ball, we’re a difficult opposition for any side. Don’t forget, it’s taken a year for us to get this good, and we’ve got a way to go to get to where we ultimately want to be. But we’re on track.”Dubbed English football’s golden generation, South Africa 2010 may be the last chance at international silverware for some of the most well-known faces in the game. The team fell short at the Uefa Euro 2004 and the 2006 Fifa World Cup Germany.England has appeared at 11 previous editions of the global showpiece, debuting at Brazil 1950.They were the winners on home soil in 1966, and displayed their best performance outside their own shores in Italy 1990, when they reached the last four. They were defeated in penalties by eventual winners West Germany.The team are in Group C where they where they will play against the US, Algeria and Slovenia.England’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP FRANCE (FRA)France: Group A matches South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgUruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSouth Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaFrance vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneMexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgFrance vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinFrance: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 12Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1998Total World Cup matches: 51World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 25 / 10 / 16Percentage of World Cup match wins: 51%France: Footballing nation Association: Fédération Française de FootballYear association founded: 1919Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1904Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 62-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 4.2-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 6.7%Professional footballers: 1 825France: OverviewFrance had one of the most controversial qualification games. They finished a point behind Serbia in group seven and were paired with the Republic of Ireland in the play-offs. Led by coach Raymond Domenech they played to a 1-0 win in Ireland.This was followed by a game of huge controversy. In the playoff game Ireland captain Robbie Keane scored a goal that levelled the tie at 1-1 on aggregate, leading to extra-time. William Gallas scored the disputed winning goal for France, which came from a handball pass from captain Thierry Henry.The French are in Group A where they will play against South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay.France won the World Cup as the host nation in 1998, and the European Football Championship in 1984 and in 2000. They also won the Fifa Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003. Despite a drop in standards in 2002 and 2006, France still came agonisingly close to winning the World Cup title again in Germany 2006, losing out on penalties to Italy in the final.France’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP GERMANY (GER)Germany: Group D matches Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSerbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaGermany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethGhana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgGhana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgAustralia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitGermany: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1934Previous World Cups: 16Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1954, 1974, 1990Total World Cup matches: 92World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 55 / 19 / 18Percentage of World Cup match wins: 60%Germany: Footballing nation Association: Deutscher Fussball-BundYear association founded: 1900Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1904Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 82-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 16.3-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 19.8%Professional footballers: 864Germany: OverviewThree-time Fifa World Cup winners Germany have not missed a World Cup since 1950 and that record was extended as they booked their place to South Africa with a 1-0 win over group rivals Russia.“We’ve been very successful in the past, and that’s an inspiration to the next generations,” said German fullback Philip Lahm.“You only have to look at Germany’s record at major tournaments. We won the World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990, and the European Championship in 1972, 1980 and 1996.“We’re definitely among a group of countries with a chance of taking the trophy. We were third at the World Cup and second at the Euro, so our goal for 2010 is to make the final and win the trophy.”The 2006 Fifa World Cup hosts were drawn into Group D with Ghana, Serbia and Australia.Germany’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP GHANA (GHA)Ghana: Group D matches Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSerbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaGermany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethGhana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgGhana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgAustralia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitGhana: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 2006Previous World Cups: 1Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 2006Total World Cup matches: 4World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 2 / 0 / 2Percentage of World Cup match wins: 50%Ghana: Footballing nation Association: Ghana Football AssociationYear association founded: 1957Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1958Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)Population: 24-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 987 000Footballers as percentage of population: 4.1%Professional footballers: 0Ghana: OverviewGhana was the first African team to reach the 2010 World Cup from the qualifiers. The only African side to progress past the group stage at the 2006 Fifa World Cup Germany, Ghana is anxious to prove themselves as the cream of the continent.Speaking to Fifa after the 2-0 qualifying game against Sudan, Ghana’s midfielder Michael Essien said: “The people of Ghana wanted us to win and we did not let them down. What a fantastic feeling to be the first African country to qualify for the first World Cup to be staged in Africa.”Though this will be only their second appearance at the World Cup, the Ghanaians have enjoyed considerable success at all levels of international football. They have won four Confederation of African Football Africa Cup of Nations titles, as well as two Fifa U-17 World Cups.In October 2009 they became the first African team to lift the Fifa U-20 World Cup when they beat Brazil on penalties. With added experience since their 2006 adventure, Ghana is set to be a major threat at Africa’s first Fifa World Cup. They will be playing in Group D against Germany, Australia and Serbia.Ghana’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP GREECE (GRE)Greece: Group B matches Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgSouth Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethArgentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgGreece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanGreece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneGreece: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1994Previous World Cups: 1Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1994Total World Cup matches: 3World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 0 / 3Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%Greece: Footballing nation Association: Hellenic Football FederationYear association founded: 1926Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1927Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 11-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 761 000Footballers as percentage of population: 7%Professional footballers: 1 818Greece: OverviewThe Uefa Euro 2004 champions, Greece continue to defy the odds to have clinched qualification for only their second Fifa World Cup finals.The road to South Africa was tricky as they had to play European Zone play-offs against Ukraine, opponents who had taken four points from the Greeks in Group 2 qualifications for Germany 2006. This time around, after a 0-0 draw in Athens, Greece grabbed a 1-0 second-leg success in Donetsk.There will be no shortage of experience for the Greeks when they come to South Africa. Chief among their veteran performers are defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who has played more qualifying minutes than any other squad member, and former Inter Milan and Benfica midfielder Karagounis.They will also have top European Zone qualifying scorer Theofanis Gekas, and Angelos Charisteas, scorer of the winning goal in the final at Euro 2004.Greece will be looking to advance past the group stages for the first time and surprise the world again, as they did at Euro 2004. They will be playing in Group B against Argentina, Nigeria and South Korea.Greece’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP HONDURAS (HON)Honduras: Group H matches Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSpain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSpain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgChile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethSwitzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinChile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaHonduras: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1982Previous World Cups: 1Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1982Total World Cup matches: 3World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 2 / 1Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%Honduras: Footballing nation Association: Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de HondurasYear association founded: 1951Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1951Confederation: Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)Population: 8-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 421 000Footballers as percentage of population: 5%Professional footballers: 100Honduras: OverviewDespite having just squeezed into qualification, coach Reinaldo Rueda’s team will not be going to South Africa just to make up the numbers. Honduras will be playing in the Fifa World Cup for the second time since 1982.Big-name stars in the the Honduran team include key striker Carlos Pavon, supported by the talented David Suazo, Wilson Palacios, Julio Leon and Amado Guevara. Pavon would love nothing more than to crown his top international career with a goal-laden showing on the biggest stage of all.For Honduras, qualifying for the World Cup had become something of a recurring nightmare. They invariably fell short at key moments, until the arrival of 42-year-old Colombian strategist Rueda. In their road to South Africa, Honduras racked up an eight-game unbeaten home run and bolstered the best defensive record in the section.After their bad luck in Spain in 1982, when they left the competition without a single win, Honduras are determined to put in a better showing in their second World Cup. They will be playing in Group H against Spain, Switzerland and Chile.Honduras’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP ITALY (ITA)Italy: Group F matches Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNew Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgItaly vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSlovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinSlovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgParaguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneItaly: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1934Previous World Cups: 16Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006Total World Cup matches: 77World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 44 / 19 / 14Percentage of World Cup match wins: 57%Italy: Footballing nation Association: Federazione Italiana Giuoco CalcioYear association founded: 1898Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1905Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 58-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 5-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 8.6%Professional footballers: 3 541Italy: OverviewThe World Cup defending champions, the Italians will be one of the leading contenders to emerge triumphant at the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Marcello Lippi’s men will be vying to match the performance of their pioneering predecessors in 1934 and 1938 by winning the tournament twice in succession.Italy sealed the chance to defend their world title in South Africa in dramatic fashion, equalising in the last minute in Ireland to snatch a 2-2 draw and top spot in Group 8.After an early exit at the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, the Italian team will be looking to turn around their misfortune. Under the leadership of 61-year-old coach and master tactician Lippi, the team are working to add a fifth World Cup crown to their rich footballing history.They have been drawn in Group F with Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia.Italy’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP JAPAN (JPN)Japan: Group E matches Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgJapan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNetherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanCameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaDenmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgCameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownJapan: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1998Previous World Cups: 3Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 2002Total World Cup matches: 10World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 2 / 2 / 6Percentage of World Cup match wins: 20%Japan: Footballing nation Association: Japan Football AssociationYear association founded: 1921Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1929Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)Population: 127-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 4.8-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 3.8%Professional footballers: 976Japan: OverviewThe co-hosts of the 2002 Fifa World Cup, Japan boast one of the strongest squads in Asian football. Winners of three of the last five editions of the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup, Japan have high hopes for the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa.They were the first team to book their place after earning a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Uzbekistan in Tashkent. This will be their fourth appearance at the Fifa World Cup, where they will be playing in Group E against Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon.The Japanese will be facing their first finals without iconic midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata. The former Roma schemer featured in each of the national side’s games at France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006 before hanging up his boots after the latter event, aged just 29.The Japanese hopes rest on players such as playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura, who in the summer 2009 made the switch from Glasgow to La Liga with Espanyol. Another European-based performer is young midfielder Keisuke Honda, at Eredivisie outfit VVV Venlo and like Nakamura a gifted left-footer.Leading from the back is 31-year-old defensive rock and captain Yuji Nakazawa, who with over 90 senior caps to his name is Japan’s third-most capped player of all time.The qualifying round was comfortable for the Japanese. They reached the fourth and final stage of Asian Zone having won four, drawn three and lost just one of their eight matches in Group 1.Japan’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP MEXICO (MEX)Mexico: Group A matches South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgUruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSouth Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaFrance vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneMexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgFrance vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinMexico: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 13Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1970, 1986Total World Cup matches: 45World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 11 / 12 / 22Percentage of World Cup match wins: 24%Mexico: Footballing nation Association: Federación Mexicana de Fútbol AsociaciónYear association founded: 1927Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1929Confederation: Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)Population: 111-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 8.5-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 7.6%Professional footballers: 4 593Mexico: OverviewAfter a turbulent couple of years that has seen three coaches come and go and more than 60 players pull on the famous green jersey, Mexico has returned to calmer waters under the steadying influence of Javier Aguirre. The former Atletico Madrid coach has put together a team comprising of bright young talents and established stars, restoring their wavering confidence in the process.After being appointed as coach in the qualifying matches, Aguirre worked a miracle, transforming Mexican fortunes despite kicking off with a 2-1 reverse in El Salvador. Victories over each of their five group rivals then followed, giving them a ticket to the finals with one game to spare. After a draw against Trinidad and Tobago in their final outing, the Mexicans ended the group in second place behind eternal rivals US.Veteran playmaker Cuauhtemoc Blanco is perhaps the player Mexico fans should thank for their side’s turnaround. Lured out of retirement by Aguirre, the talented 36-year-old became the symbol of a revitalised team, helping younger teammates to find their best form.Mexico have been drawn into Group A to face South Africa, Uruguay and 1998 World Cup winners France.Mexico’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP NETHERLANDS (NED)Netherlands: Group E matches Netherlands vs Denmark, 14 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgJapan vs Cameroon, 14 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNetherlands vs Japan, 19 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanCameroon vs Denmark, 19 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaDenmark vs Japan, 24 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgCameroon vs Netherlands, 24 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNetherlands: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1934Previous World Cups: 8Best World Cup progress: Runners-up in 1974, 1978Total World Cup matches: 36World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 16 / 10 / 10Percentage of World Cup match wins: 44%Netherlands: Footballing nation Association: Koninklijke Nederlandse VoetbalbondYear association founded: 1889Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1904Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 17-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 1.7-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 10.4%Professional footballers: 1 000Netherlands: OverviewNetherlands have set a high target for their campaign in South Africa, 32 years after their 3-1 extra-time defeat by Argentina in the showpiece game, four years after their 2-1 final loss to West Germany.The Dutch won 2-1 away to Iceland to become the first European side to qualify, having picked up eight wins from eight games.The team has proved to be faultless so far, with the former Feyenoord coach Bert van Marwijk leading his troops to the top of Group 9, where Norway and Scotland were their major rivals.With a rich history in football as well as an outstanding calibre of players, Netherlands want to go all the way to the top. The Oranje have been drawn into Group E with Japan, Denmark and Cameroon.Netherlands’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP NEW ZEALAND (NZL)New Zealand: Group F matches Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNew Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgItaly vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSlovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinSlovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgParaguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneNew Zealand: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1982Previous World Cups: 1Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1982Total World Cup matches: 3World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 0 / 3Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%New Zealand: Footballing nation Association: New Zealand FootballYear association founded: 1891Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1948Confederation: Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)Population: 5-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 199 000Footballers as percentage of population: 4.3%Professional footballers: 25New Zealand: OverviewThe All Whites, New Zealand make a successive return to the Fifa World Cup after qualifying for Germany in 2006. The team claimed the Oceania crown to earn a trip to the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, where they showed solid form after a poor opening against European champions Spain.The dramatic 180-minute South Africa 2010 play-off victory against Bahrain united the rugby-mad nation behind the All Whites like never before, resulting in a national record crowd of 35 100 in the capital Wellington for the decisive qualifier.Captain and centre-back Ryan Nelsen is undoubtedly the player with the highest profile and best credantials in the team. The defender has been a regular at Blackburn Rovers for a number of years, the only New Zealander to have played for so long in the English Premier League.At the other end of the pitch, the All Whites have a number of key attacking options led by the prolific Shane Smeltz. Oceania Player of the Year and Australian A-League top-scorer Smeltz has an all-round finishing ability, and is deadly in the air or with his feet.New Zealand have been drawn into Group F to face Slovenia, Paraguay and defending champions Italy.New Zealand’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP NIGERIA (NGA)Nigeria: Group B matches: Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgSouth Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethArgentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgGreece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanGreece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneNigeria: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1994Previous World Cups: 3Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 1994, 1998Total World Cup matches: 11World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 4 / 1 / 6Percentage of World Cup match wins: 36%Nigeria: Footballing nation Association: Nigeria Football FederationYear association founded: 1945Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1960Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)Population: 149-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 6.7-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 4.5%Professional footballers: 2 440Nigeria: OverviewThe 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa sees the return of the Super Eagles Nigeria, after failing to qualify for Germany 2006. Expectations are high for the team, after the dramatic qualifying match that saw Nigeria beating Kenya 3-2.The Nigerians are expected to outshine their debut performance at USA 1994, where they dismantled eventual semi-finalists Bulgaria 3-0 in their first match before going on to fall 2-1 against Italy in the second round.The Eagles will play Argentina, Korea and Greece in Group B.Nigeria’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP NORTH KOREA (PRK)North Korea: Group G matches Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgCôte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethBrazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgPortugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNorth Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitPortugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanNorth Korea: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1966Previous World Cups: 1Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1966Total World Cup matches: 4World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 1 / 2Percentage of World Cup match wins: 25%North Korea: Footballing nation Association: DPR Korea Football AssociationYear association founded: 1945Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1958Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)Population: 23-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 503 000Footballers as percentage of population: 2.2%Professional footballers: 0North Korea: OverviewNorth Korea seemingly came from nowhere to storm into the Asian Zone’s final qualification round, where they defied sizeable odds to take one of the continent’s four automatic spots in the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Nonetheless, North Korea’s qualification campaign took a gruelling 20 months and 16 games.South Africa 2010 will mark North Korea’s second appearance in the Fifa World Cup; their first was in England in 1966.They have been drawn into Group G to face strong opponents Brazil, Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire. This will make it difficult for them to emulate the success of the 1966 North Korea team, which beat Italy 1-0 to reach the quarter-finals.North Korea’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP PARAGUAY (PAR)Paraguay: Group F matches Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNew Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgItaly vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSlovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinSlovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgParaguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneParaguay: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 7Best World Cup progress: Round of 16 in 1986, 1998, 2002Total World Cup matches: 22World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 6 / 7 / 9Percentage of World Cup match wins: 27%Paraguay: Footballing nation Association: Asociación Paraguaya de FútbolYear association founded: 1906Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1925Confederation: South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)Population: 7-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 1-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 14.8%Professional footballers: 590Paraguay: OverviewParaguay will be making their eighth Fifa World Cup appearance in 2010, their fourth in a row. In the qualifying matches they recorded the most wins in the group with 10 wins, three draws and five defeats. They collected 33 points in all to finish third behind the Chileans and Brazil. They confirmed their ticket to the finals in style, with Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo declaring a national holiday for the nation to celebrate.The team’s success at the Fifa World Cup in South Africa rests on the services of several internationally renowned players, most of whom play club football in Mexico and Europe. While the side is sprinkled with proven performers in every area, the Paraguayans’ biggest name can be found up front: Roque Santa Cruz has had several successful seasons in England and is currently playing for Manchester City.Paraguay have been drawn into Group F to face New Zealand, Slovakia and defending champions Italy.Paraguay’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP PORTUGAL (POR)Portugal: Group G matches Brazil vs North Korea, 15 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgCôte d’Ivoire vs Portugal, 15 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethBrazil vs Côte d’Ivoire, 20 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgPortugal vs North Korea, 21 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNorth Korea vs Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitPortugal vs Brazil, 25 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanPortugal: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1966Previous World Cups: 4Best World Cup progress: Third-place semi-finalists in 1966, fourth-place semi-finalists in 2006Total World Cup matches: 19World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 11 / 1 / 7Percentage of World Cup match wins: 58%Portugal: Footballing nation Association: Federaçao Portuguesa de FutebolYear association founded: 1914Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1923Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 10-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 548 000Footballers as percentage of population: 5.1%Professional footballers: 1 663Portugal: OverviewIn the qualifying games, Portugal quickly went from being group favourites to standing on the threshold of elimination. With the management of Mozambican-born coach Carlos Queiroz, a former coach for South Africa, and talented players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Deco, expectations of the team are high.Portugal were finalists at Uefa Euro 2004 and semi-finalists at Germany 2006, but have never progressed beyond a World Cup semi-final. They have displayed some dazzling football in recent years – without winning a major prize.Portugal reached the finals courtesy of a play-off win over Bosnia-Herzegovina. For 2010 thay have been drawn against Brazil, North Korea and Côte d’Ivoire in Group G. Competition will be tough: five-time winners Brazil are the favourites for the tournament while Côte d’Ivoire boast players of the calibre of Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Salomon Kalou.It is Portugal’s clash with the Ivorians that Ronaldo believes could be crucial, with the two nations’ opening bout in Port Elizabeth.Portugal’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP SERBIA (SRB)Serbia: Group D matches: Germany vs Australia, 13 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSerbia vs Ghana, 13 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaGermany vs Serbia, 18 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethGhana vs Australia, 19 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgGhana vs Germany, 23 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgAustralia vs Serbia, 23 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSerbia: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930 (as Yugoslavia)Previous World Cups: 10Best World Cup progress: Fourth-place semi-finalists in 1930, 1962 as YugoslaviaTotal World Cup matches: 40World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 16 / 8 / 16Percentage of World Cup match wins: 40%Serbia: Footballing nation Association: Football Association of SerbiaYear association founded: 1919Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1923Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 7-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 442 000Footballers as percentage of population: 6%Professional footballers: 1 500Serbia: OverviewSerbia will appear as an independent state for the first time in the 2010 Fifa World Cup. As part of the Yugoslavian side they appeared at nine editions of the competition, and competed as Serbia and Montenegro at Germany 2006.The Serbian national team was previously known as the Yugoslavia national football team from 15 January 1992 until 4 February 2003, and then as the Serbia and Montenegro national football team until 3 June 2006. This was when Serbia declared independence as the successor state to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.It was officially renamed the Serbia national football team on 28 June 2006, while the Montenegro national football team was created to represent the new state of Montenegro.Serbia beat Romania 5-0 to earn automatic qualification for the 2010 World Cup as the leaders of European qualifying Group 7. They have been drawn in Group D with Germany, Australia and Ghana.Serbia’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP SLOVAKIA (SVK)Slovakia: Group F matches Italy vs Paraguay, 14 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownNew Zealand vs Slovakia, 15 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgItaly vs New Zealand, 20 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSlovakia vs Paraguay, 20 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinSlovakia vs Italy, 24 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgParaguay vs New Zealand, 24 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneSlovakia: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 2010Previous World Cups: 0Best World Cup progress: The former Czechoslovakia played in eight Fifa World Cups and were runners-up in 1934 and 1962Total World Cup matches: –World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: –Percentage of World Cup match wins: –Slovakia: Footballing nation Association: Slovak Football AssociationYear association founded: 1993Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1994Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 5-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 622 000Footballers as percentage of population: 11.4%Professional footballers: 489Slovakia: OverviewLike Serbia, Slovakia will appear in a Fifa World Cup as an independent state for the first time in 2010. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Slovak Football Association was founded in 1993.While this may be Slovakia’s first appearance on the global stage, the country’s footballing past is tied up with that of the former Czechoslovakia, who participated in eight finals overall. Czechoslovakia reached the final in 1934, losing 2-1 after extra time to Italy, and 1962, when they succumbed 3-1 to Brazil. They also advanced as far as the last eight in 1990.Slovakia clinched qualification with a 1-0 away win against Poland. Currently ranked 34th in the world, they finished as surprise winners at the top of a tricky European qualifying group containing Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland and Northern Ireland. The Slovakians are in Group F with Italy Paraguay and New Zealand.Slovakia’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP SLOVENIA (SVN)Slovenia: Group C matches England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgAlgeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneSlovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgEngland vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSlovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethUSA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaSlovenia: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 2002Previous World Cups: 1Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 2002Total World Cup matches: 3World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 0 / 0 / 3Percentage of World Cup match wins: 0%Slovenia: Footballing nation Association: Football Association of SloveniaYear association founded: 1991Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1992Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 2-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 117 000Footballers as percentage of population: 5.8%Professional footballers: 284Slovenia: OverviewGiven that they only gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Slovenia’s football history is shorter than the majority of their South Africa 2010 rivals. They can, however, reflect with pride on having qualified for the Fifa World Cup at just the second time of trying. Slovenia played their first match in 1992 after the split of Yugoslavia in 1991.A nation of just 2-million people, Slovenia has done better than expected to secure a place at next year’s World Cup. They knocked out experienced teams such as Poland, Czech Republic and, finally, Russia to take their place in South Africa. Slovenia have been drawn in Group C with England US and Algeria.Slovenia’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP SOUTH AFRICA (RSA)South Africa: Group A matches South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgUruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSouth Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaFrance vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneMexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgFrance vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinSouth Africa: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1998Previous World Cups: 2Best World Cup progress: Group stage in 1998, 2002Total World Cup matches: 6World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 1 / 3 / 2Percentage of World Cup match wins: 17%South Africa: Footballing nation Association: South African Football AssociationYear association founded: 1991Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1992Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)Population: 49-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 4.5-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 9.3%Professional footballers: 1 000South Africa: OverviewThere is cautious optimism in South Africa as the Rainbow Nation prepares to write what is undoubtedly the most significant chapter of its short football history. A mammoth task lies ahead.In 1996, four years after their readmission to international football, South Africa shot to fame and stunned the African continent by claiming their maiden CAF Africa Cup of Nations trophy against Tunisia at Soccer City in Johannesburg. Now, 16 years later, South Africa will return to the venue where they achieved this first major success, aiming to rewrite the script on an even bigger stage.Recent years have brought many disappointments, but Bafana Bafana have also shown that, given motivation and purpose, they can be a potent threat. And there can be no greater motivation than representing their country in a Fifa World Cup on home soil.Their brave performance at the Fifa Confederations Cup last June, when they lost narrowly to Brazil in the semi-finals and to Spain in the third place play-off, should certainly serve as a reminder to their detractors that the team should not be underestimated.Bafana Bafana boasts the talents of midfield maestro Steven Pienaar who, since his arrival at English Premier League team Everton, has reinvented himself and matured as an all-round player. His performance during the 2009 Confederations Cup were another reminder that he will be key to any South African success in 2010.Now in his second stint as a South Africa coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira has a pedigree for success, having led his native Brazil to win the 1994 Fifa World Cup USA. He brings a wealth of experience, which should be vital in revitalising a South African side struggling with some significant pre-tournament problems.The South Africans have been drawn into Group A to face France, Mexico and Uruguay.South Africa’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOP SOUTH KOREA (KOR)South Korea: Group B matches Argentina vs Nigeria, 12 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgSouth Korea vs Greece, 12 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethArgentina vs South Korea, 17 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgGreece vs Nigeria, 17 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinNigeria vs South Korea, 22 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanGreece vs Algeria, 22 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneSouth Korea: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1954Previous World Cups: 7Best World Cup progress: Fourth-place semi-finalists in 2002Total World Cup matches: 24World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 4 / 7 / 13Percentage of World Cup match wins: 17%South Korea: Footballing nation Association: Korea Football AssociationYear association founded: 1933Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1948Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)Population: 48-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 1.1-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 2.3%Professional footballers: 550South Korea: OverviewAsia’s most frequent visitors to the Fifa World Cup, South Korea are also the continent’s most successful team at the tournament. They may have qualified for their seventh consecutive world finals, but it was a bumpy ride this time. Despite a series of lacklustre performances in the third round, the South Koreans managed to top their group after two goalless draws with neighbours North Korea.The North Koreans proved to be their nemesis again in the final round, holding the Taeguk Warriors to a 1-1 stalemate in Shanghai. But they bounced back in style with back-to-back wins over United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, before a crucial 1-1 draw with Iran in Tehran. A 1-0 home victory in the Korean derby followed, and the mission was accomplished with a 2-0 win against UAE.Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung has played a key role in South Korea’s two previous Fifa World Cup campaigns. The multifunctional winger is now an indispensible member of the team, with his ability to create space and chances for his fellow players.The 2002 Fifa World Cup co-hosts are striving to do better than Germany 2006 where they made an early exit in the group stages. The team has been drawn into Group B against Argentina, Nigeria and Greece.South Korea’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP SPAIN (ESP)Spain: Group H matches Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSpain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSpain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgChile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethSwitzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinChile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaSpain: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1934Previous World Cups: 12Best World Cup progress: Fourth-place semi-finalists in 1950Total World Cup matches: 49World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 22 / 12 / 15Percentage of World Cup match wins: 45%Spain: Footballing nation Association: Real Federacion Española de FutbolYear association founded: 1909Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1913Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 40-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 2.8-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 7%Professional footballers: 1 331Spain: OverviewSpain, the Uefa Euro 2008 champions, won each of their 10 qualifying games. The team have not rested on the success of their 2008 victory, consistently bringing in new faces without compromising their attractive short-passing football.Maturity, resilience and the ability to overcome adversity were all in evidence during their qualifying campaign. The team boasts the goalkeeping qualities of captain Iker Casillas, who plays in the Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid. The midfield combination of La Liga club Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez and Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas is vital to Spain’s fluid style, while at the sharp end of the attack there can be few if any better finishers than David Villa and Licverpool player Fernando Torres.Spain have never won the Fifa World Cup and hope to take the crown in South Africa 2010. The team have been drawn into Group H to face Honduras, Chile and Switzerland.Spain’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP SWITZERLAND (SUI)Switzerland: Group H matches Honduras vs Chile, 16 June, Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitSpain vs Switzerland, 16 June, Durban Stadium, DurbanSpain vs Honduras, 21 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgChile vs Switzerland, 21 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethSwitzerland vs Honduras, 25 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinChile vs Spain, 25 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaSwitzerland: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1934Previous World Cups: 8Best World Cup progress: Quarter-finalists in 1954Total World Cup matches: 26World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 8 / 5 / 13Percentage of World Cup match wins: 31%Switzerland: Footballing nation Association: Schweizerischer FussballverbandYear association founded: 1895Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1904Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)Population: 8-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 571 000Footballers as percentage of population: 7.5%Professional footballers: 550Switzerland: OverviewSwitzerland will be appearing in their ninth Fifa World Cup in 2010. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and his men are aiming for more than just a supporting role. Eliminated in the last 16 at Germany 2006, the Swiss worked hard on their way to South Africa. They finished at the top of their group on 21 points, beating Greece by one point in a taxing group.The Swiss reached the quarter-finals in their first two World Cup appearances in 1934 and 1938. The highlight of the 1938 campaign was a 4-2 victory over a Nazi-controlled German team featuring Austrian players after the annexation of the country. When World Cup football resumed in 1950 after a 12-year World War II-enforced hiatus, the Swiss were knocked out at the group stage.The Swiss hosted the tournament in 1954 and again made the quarters with two victories over Italy. The quarter-final match against Austria was the highest-scoring match in World Cup history as Switzerland remarkably threw away a three-goal lead, conceding five in seven first-half minutes to lose 7-5. In the 1962 and 1966 campaigns, the Swiss lost all their games.Switzerland have been drawn into Group H to face Spain, Honduras and Chile.Switzerland’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squadBACK TO TOP URUGUAY (URU)Uruguay: Group A matches South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June, Soccer City, JohannesburgUruguay vs France, 11 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSouth Africa vs Uruguay, 16 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaFrance vs Mexico, 17 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneMexico vs Uruguay, 22 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgFrance vs South Africa, 22 June, Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinUruguay: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 10Best World Cup progress: Winners in 1930Total World Cup matches: 40World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 15 / 10 / 15Percentage of World Cup match wins: 38%Uruguay: Footballing nation Association: Asociación Uruguaya de FútbolYear association founded: 1900Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1923Confederation: South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)Population: 3-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 241 000Footballers as percentage of population: 6.9%Professional footballers: 1 100Uruguay: OverviewTwo-time world champions Uruguay clinched the 32nd and final place in South Africa with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Costa Rica. Few nations have the footballing history of Uruguay. The country has a population of a little over 3-million yet boasts an impressive collection of world, Olympic and continental titles.Football is the most important sport in Uruguay. They won an Olympic gold medal in 1924 and another one in 1928, which were considered the most important tournaments in football before the World Cup began in 1930. The first World Cup, which Uruguay won, was held in 1930 in Montevideo. Uruguay also won the World Cup in 1950, beating Brazil.Uruguay has made two appearances at the last five Fifa World Cup finals. The man charged with the task of improving that record and raising their profile once more is Oscar Tabarez, who is now in his second stint as national coach, having taken the Uruguayans through to the last 16 at Italy in 1990.Uruguay have been drawn into Group A to face South Africa, Mexico and France.Uruguay’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad USA (USA)BACK TO TOPUSA: Group C matches England vs USA, 12 June, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, RustenburgAlgeria vs Slovenia, 13 June, Peter Mokaba Stadium, PolokwaneSlovenia vs USA, 18 June, Ellis Park Stadium, JohannesburgEngland vs Algeria, 18 June, Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSlovenia vs England, 23 June, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethUSA vs Algeria, 23 June, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, PretoriaUSA: Fifa World Cup history First World Cup: 1930Previous World Cups: 8Best World Cup progress: Third-place semi-finalists in 1930Total World Cup matches: 25World Cup matches: won/drawn/lost: 6 / 3 / 16Percentage of World Cup match wins: 24%USA: Footballing nation Association: US Soccer FederationYear association founded: 1913Year association affiliated to Fifa: 1914Confederation: Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)Population: 307-millionTotal footballers (male and female): 24.5-millionFootballers as percentage of population: 8%Professional footballers: 1 513USA: OverviewThough football has not traditionally had a high profile in US sporting life, the sport has steadily grown in popularity since the 1970s. Ranked 14th in the world by Fifa, the American team have appeared in the last five World Cups.The US reached the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa by qualifying in first place in the final six-team hexagonal phase of North, Central America and Caribbean Zone qualifying. Under the careful guidance of coach Bob Bradley, a well-drilled blend of proven internationals and up-and-coming stars will be keen to build on their second-place finish at the Fifa Confederations Cup South Africa 2009.The US has taken part in nine Fifa World Cups, with Mexico the only Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football team involved in more editions of the tournament.The Americans’ best World Cup performance came at Uruguay 1930, when they exited at the semi-final stage. At Germany 2006 they bid farewell to the tournament at the first hurdle. South Africa 2010 will be the Americans’ sixth consecutive appearance. They are in Group C where they will be playing England, Algeria and Slovenia.USA’s 2010 Fifa World Cup squad BACK TO TOPlast_img read more

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SA comedian signs movie deal at Cannes

first_img21 May 2014 South African comedian David Kau clinched a deal with US company Archstone Distribution for his upcoming movie Sekwankwetla at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday. Sekwankwetla tells the story of a South African township superhero whose super powers enable him to fly – but no more than 10 centimetres high. Kau signed the deal with Archstone Companies founders and partners Scott Martin and Michael Slifkin at the South Africa Pavilion at Cannes, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) said in a statement on Tuesday. Archstone Distribution has gained a reputation as a filmmaker-friendly distribution and sales company, with nearly 100 titles in their current library. Archstone Pictures currently produces and co-produces between three and five films a year. It has already completed production on two films this year – action/thriller Awaken and action/adventure Out of the Burning Blue, both currently selling at the Cannes market. According to the NFVF, Sekwankwetla will be directed by award-winning South African director Teboho Mahlatsi, and co-produced by Archstone Pictures, David Kau’s Disadvantaged Background Productions and Mahlatsi’s The Bomb Shelter. “We plan to shoot the film on location in KwaZulu-Natal, and have already started negotiations with the newly established KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission representatives, who are also attending the festival to market the province as a best location,” Kau told the NFVF. South Africa’s participation at Cannes Film Festival is facilitated by the NFVF in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the Durban Film Office and Western Cape destination marketing organisation Wesgro. Kau is a member of the Association for Transformation in Film and Television, which is sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Benjamin Logan FFA takes part in district soil judging

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On September 27th students from the Benjamin Logan FFA Chapter competed in District Rural and Urban Soil Judging contest held in Delaware County. The Agricultural Soils CDE is an educational activity designed as a practical method of teaching students to evaluate land and soil and to make decisions when faced with soil related issues that affect agricultural production.Emma Wenger, LeAnn Regula, Peyton Derr, Kyleigh Neeld, and Hallie Anderson represented the Urban Soil team. Nathaniel Devine, Dalton Rockhold, Tanner Anspach, John Lowe, and Matt Black represented the Rural Soil team.last_img read more

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The Road Ahead: Medicaid & Medicare

first_img Image created by Christopher Plein, Ph.D., 2018. Return to article. Long DescriptionRecently, I made a community presentation to social workers, education specialists, healthcare prevention workers and other helping professionals in my home state of West Virginia.  Among those in attendance were professionals working with veterans, some of whom are long retired and others more recently separated from military service.The meeting helped my thoughts turn again to how closely military families are tied to the “civilian world.”  I introduced the group to the work that we do in the Military Families Learning Network emphasizing the common bonds that we all share in helping families. We talked about recent trends in Medicare and Medicaid and possible future developments for these two keystones of the American health system.Active duty military families may find that family and loved ones are eligible for these programs due to health conditions, age or economic need.  Those facing retirement and separation from the military also need to consider the road ahead and how Medicaid and Medicare may figure into their plans.Most know that Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for those over 65 years of age.  It also serves those with specific diseases and disabilities.  Medicaid operates as a state-federal partnership providing health insurance for lower income populations as well as those with special health conditions and disabilities.   As we have noted in previous blogs and webinars, these programs are a complex yet vital part of our healthcare infrastructure.For well over a decade, both programs have changed due to various federal legislative and regulatory reforms.  The best known of these is the Affordable Care Act of 2010 which made some revisions to Medicare but most importantly allowed for Medicaid expansion to newly eligible populations of low income adults.Along with demographic changes in our population (many of us are getting older), policy changes are resulting in more and more Americans being covered by either Medicaid or Medicare. Currently, 33 percent of the U.S. population is covered by one or the other helping to bring our overall uninsured rate down to 9 percent.Utilizing helpful data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and comparing these to data on active duty military populations in the states, we offer a quick glimpse of trends in the tables and charts below.As noted in a previous blog, almost half (49 percent) of all active duty military are based in just five states:  California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia.  The table below is from that blog that and relies on data from Defense Manpower Data Center (MDDC).  We’ll call these states the “Big Five.” Texas16%11%15% Source: Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2016Both Virginia and Texas lag behind the national average for Medicaid and Medicare coverage.  However, the picture in Virginia may change soon as it has recently passed legislation to expand Medicaid.Because Medicaid and Medicare can figure so prominently in providing assistance to family members, it is worth considering the status of these programs when making location and caregiving decisions.  While Medicare coverage provisions are uniform across the United States, Medicaid varies widely from state to state.One trend that we can anticipate is that more states, even in traditionally “red” regions, will decide to expand Medicaid in order to help lower income adults.  In the 2018 mid-term elections, three states, Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah all approved ballot measures to expand Medicaid eligibility to new low income groups.More broadly, there is growing interest in expanding Medicare coverage to new populations. This would be a real game changer — especially for those who have difficulty accessing care due to health conditions or age. There are active discussions and legislative proposals now being considered to allow those nearing retirement age (say between the ages of 55 and 64) and those with serious health conditions to “buy-in” to Medicare at a reduced premium or to be entitled to the program.  Excellent and accessible analysis and reporting on these developments can be found online through the Kaiser Family Foundation.In the months to come, we should anticipate further conversations about Medicaid and Medicare as platforms for healthcare coverage and access.  New Medicaid expansion efforts in states will no doubt inspire others, but will also have their own share of growing pains and difficulties.  As for Medicare, we can anticipate that both sides of the aisle will give active consideration to ideas on how this program can help those in need.Note: The research assistance of Lonnie Long, MPA student and MFLN Military Caregiving special needs graduate assistant in preparing this blog is appreciated. Georgia17%12%12% North Carolina18%15%11% MedicaidMedicareUninsured United States19%14%9% Written by: Christopher Plein, Ph.D.  West Virginia University and MFLN Military Caregiving Team Return to article. Long DescriptionSource: Understanding Military Assignment Dynamics in the U.S.: A Look at the Data & Some Questions to Ponder (Plein, 2018).Medicaid & Medicare EnrollmentNow let’s take a look at Medicaid and Medicare enrollment trends in these states.  What we find is an interesting and varied portrait of what is happening.  In California, for example, 36 percent of the population is covered by either Medicaid or Medicare.  To date, California is the only state among the “Big Five” to implement an expanded Medicaid program.  By expanding Medicaid coverage to previously ineligible groups, enrollment numbers have increased.  As the data suggest, this helps to reduce overall uninsured rates. This image (ID: 184954118) was purchased by MFLNMC from iStock.com under member ID 8085767. California25%11%8% Virginia 12%14%10%last_img read more

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Medical suppliers demand dues from State

first_imgNearly 150 drugs and surgical device suppliers are planning to stop supply to government-run hospitals if their pending dues worth over ₹23 crore are not paid immediately. The All Food and Drug Licence Holders Foundation (AFDLHF), an association of suppliers, in a letter to the State government on Wednesday, stated that their dues have mounted for the last three years.“The overall dues had mounted to nearly ₹95 crore, some of which were cleared over the last few months. But we still have pending bills worth over ₹23 crore,” said Abhay Pandey, president of AFDLHF. The 150-odd companies under the association supply essential drugs, implants, surgical devices and other hospital requirements like masks, gloves and gauzes to 17 State-run hospitals attached to medical colleges. These suppliers are selected through the tendering process of the lowest price offers. For example, a pair of gloves that costs ₹45 in retail is sold at about ₹9 to the government, a face mask costing ₹10 in retail is sold at ₹0.70 to the government.“The Chief Minister had sanctioned ₹120 crore to clear the pending bills at State hospitals. But instead of clearing our dues, the hospitals began clearing their local purchase dues with that money,” Mr. Pandey said. In his letter, he mentions bills worth over ₹28 lakh from GT Hospital, ₹2.73 crore from St. George Hospital, ₹40 lakh from Akola Medical College and ₹31 lakh from Nanded Medical College, pending for approval at the Mantralaya. Additionally, bills of over ₹6 crore from Cama Hospital are yet to be sent for approval either to Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) or Mantralaya. “The bills at Cama are pending only because the Administration Officer has not found the time to sign them,” he said. Till six months ago, the drugs and devices would be supplied to DMER, Directorate of Health Services (DHS) and the Haffkine Institute and further be distributed to the State hospitals. Now, Haffkine has been appointed as the only purchase point by the government. “We hope this changes the scenario on the ground level for us as well,” Mr. Pandey said.Dr. Prakash Wakode, joint director of DMER said that the State is looking at clearing the dues as soon as possible. “Once the bills extend to a certain amount a clearance process has to be followed. For example, the dean of the hospital can sanction only a certain amount. If the amount is beyond what the dean can approve, it is further sent to the director and then to the Mantralaya. This process takes time,” he said. He is yet to see the letter sent by the AFDLHF.last_img read more

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RSA reminds Ginebra to stay humble after back-to-back PBA titles

first_img“I hope with this win, we’ll be humble and nice to everybody,” the SMC head honcho said in Filipino, addressing the Gin Kings Monday during their official victory party at the SMC Head Offices.Ang is thankful that after nearly a decade of drought, coach Tim Cone was able to lead Ginebra to back-to-back titles in the season-ending conference amid a worthy adversary in Meralco.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutREAD: Ginebra escapes Meralco in Game 7, completes title repeat“Ginebra waited for a championship in eight years. We won last year, and this year, even up to the final minute, we didn’t know if we could repeat. But we’re thankful that we’re able to win back-to-back,” he said. LATEST STORIES MOST READ Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Fears over N.Korea attack during Winter Games an ‘exaggeration’ QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles03:06‘Pamana’: Mausoleum caretaker cherishes humble work for family02:41RSA reminds Ginebra to stay humble after back-to-back PBA titles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games View comments RSA reminds Ginebra to stay humble after back-to-back PBA titles1.7K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Read Next Humble in victory and gracious in defeat.That was what San Miguel president and COO Ramon S. Ang reminded the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and their legions of fans amid the celebration of their recent 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup conquest.ADVERTISEMENT San Miguel sports director Alfrancis Chua also likewise thanked the fans who trooped to the games and endlessly supported the crowd favorites.“This celebration is for all of you, for the ka-barangay!,” the Ginebra team governor said as he led the ceremonial toast.Ginebra’s title repeat smashed the gate attendance records, with Game 7 of the Finals drawing 54,086 fans to the cavernous Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.SMC president Ramon S. Ang and San Miguel sports director Alfrancis Chua hold the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup title during Ginebra’s victory party. Photo by Randolph B. Leongson/ INQUIRER.netADVERTISEMENT Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101last_img read more

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Iraq: With US bent on uprooting him, Saddam Hussein prepares to ‘fight from every house’

first_imgWar paint Adulatory posters may not be true indicators of Saddam Hussein’s popularityShe looked 20 and it was her fourth cigarette in the past 30 minutes; but you could be sure those weren’t the figures the nine men at her table-at least the ones who were still sober given the,War paint Adulatory posters may not be true indicators of Saddam Hussein’s popularityShe looked 20 and it was her fourth cigarette in the past 30 minutes; but you could be sure those weren’t the figures the nine men at her table-at least the ones who were still sober given the Blue Label that was flowing-were interested in. It turned out Huda Rubaiya, wavy hair, beautiful smile and mischievous, almost naughty eyes, was 23.She was at the restaurant in Arasat al Hindia-literally, Plot of India, Baghdad’s most trendy address is named for the Indian lady who once owned the entire area-with, among others, her boyfriend. Delsoz H. Sherwani is deputy managing director of the Galala Group. He’s a successful exporter and contractor and has been seeing Rubaiya for a year. He’s also 45 and grins as he mocks your surprise, “So you think I’m too old for her, eh?”The autumn-spring relationship isn’t unique. In Baghdad, capital of Iraq, younger women tend to prefer older, much older men, says a friend. A decade and more of embargo has throttled the economy. Men of 25, the type Rubaiya, an aspiring fashion model, may have preferred in normal times, are strugglers. No wonder she prefers a man who, like the wine she likes, has aged well.Battle plansClick here to EnlargeMeanwhile, the restaurant begins to crowd. The performer at the electronic keyboard begins to play Yesterday … all my troubles seemed so far away and, shortly afterwards, sings Frank Sinatra’s My Way.The second song could be President Saddam Hussein’s signature tune; the first may well be the anthem for his citizens. Welcome to Baghdad, a city that is at once Paris before the Nazis came in – absolute in its revelry-and Enver Hoxha’s Albania, all absolutist isolationism.advertisementThere’s a parable in the restaurant; there’s one on the streets too. Baghdad’s cars tell Iraq’s story. They zip around on amazingly smooth roads-embargo or no embargo, Saddam’s regime has ensured that the highway from the airport is first class, the streets are well paved and flyovers are impressive. The city traffic also tells you why, in today’s Iraq, there is very little room for middle ground. Life is given to extremes.Most of the cars in Baghdad are old and tired. When they were bought two or three decades ago, these Toyotas and Mazdas and Mercs must have been the spanking best the world’s automobile industry had produced. Today, they would make an ancient Ambassador taxi in Kolkata look plush. Yet for every 10-15 old cars you see, there’s one alluring and shining set of wheels. Usually a power-packed BMW or Hyundai’s upper-end models.In step hostile Kurdish forces may align with America in toppling Saddam in case of a warSo who buys the fancy cars? Those who thrive on Iraq’s e-commerce, where ‘e’ stands for embargo and all the opportunities it throws up. Traditional business is dead, reduced to a trickle by the United Nations sanctions that allow Iraq to barter its oil for specific and strictly monitored purchases.What has filled the vacuum is a contraband industry worth billions that runs extensive trade networks with Syria, Jordan and Turkey. The smugglers, almost all fronting for some important personage in Saddam’s Baath Party or Government, are the only ones who have made money.If Iraqi society lives in the grey zone between unreal and surreal, the polity does no better. Nothing represented its alternative universe more than the referendum on October 15, 2002. The Baath (Renaissance) Party rules through a nine-member Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), of which Saddam is the chairman. Every seven years, beginning 1995, as per a law drafted by Saddam, the RCC nominates its chairman for the presidency. On the morning of October 16, just over 12 hours after voting concluded at 8 p.m. the previous evening, RCC Vice-Chairman Izzat Ibrahim announced the results. Almost 11.5 million-11,445,638 to be precise-of Iraq’s 25 million people had been eligible to vote. All of them had voted and all the votes had gone to Saddam. Ibrahim congratulated the people for having “chosen the wise man of the Arabs” and the “spirit of history”.Saddam used the referendum to mobilise his forces and his people. Television channels had a black-suited choir singing patriotic, pro-Saddam numbers in Arabic to, admittedly, pulsating music.Foot fall Saddam Hussein may not be able to walk over George Bush in a war the way Iraqis do over his image in a Baghdad hotel lobbyKeeping them company on the screen- and on the streets of Baghdad-were portraits and images of Saddam: Saddam in an army beret, Saddam with a hat and gun, Saddam sporting a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headgear, Saddam on a horse, Saddam waving a clenched fist, Saddam waving an open hand, Saddam with a scimitar, Saddam in a field marshal’s uniform, Saddam kissing a child, Saddam conferring with a wiz ened old Arab, Saddam being kissed by an old woman.This was not Charlie Chaplin burlesque. It was a mad, mad world, one where people have not seen their leader in person for years but have to simply make do with the visual substitutes and, if western intelligence agencies are to be believed, physical substitutes too.advertisement There are supposed to be at least three Saddam clones, their faces surgically altered so that even senior government colleagues won’t know who they are meeting. The entire process of Saddam’s elec- tion reveals how out of touch the top leadership is with both its people and global currents.Lobbying people and governments in the name of “Third World unity,” “anti-imperialism” and “revolutionary democracy” were once the bread and butter of non-elected heads of state. Today, as concepts, they are as stale as old bread. Somebody forgot to tell Saddam. India’s concernsTERRORISM: Jehadis in Kashmir will get a boost if the US stalls its war against terrorism.OIL PRICES: Crude oil prices may rise if Iraqis target shipping lanes in the Gulf.ECONOMIC: India has lost $30 billion in oil imports, trade, exports after the 1991 sanctions.DIASPORA: 3.1 million emigrants in the Middle East who send $6 billion home may be insecure.Actually, maybe there is a method to the madness. Saddam is desperate to prevent a war that even he realises will be his last. To put pressure on enough Arab and European governments so that they in turn put enough pressure on Uncle Sam, he is playing every card he can lay his hands on-he’s Islamist, Arabist, non-aligned, socialist.Eleven years ago, despite the humiliating defeat in the Gulf War, Saddam survived because his countrymen decided they hated America more than they hated him. They rallied around a leader who had been targeted by the Satan in Wash- ington. Will the same impulses prevail? In the northern town of Mosul, Yosin Ibrahim, a government official, puts forth the more heard argument, “Bush and America have crippled us with the embargo. We want to live with dignity. Dignity is important. Saddam gives us dignity.” Like a decade ago, there are those who take a perverse pride in the fact that the world’s most powerful country feels threatened by, of all the billions in the world, only their leader. Yet collected crowds and aggressive agitprop may not reveal the full tale. In Baghdad’s Antar Square, Hussain Bahet, professor of economics at Baghdad University, watches a post-referendum celebration. Is he happy with the result? He nods. Is he worried about the economy? He nods twice. Is he worried about the war? He nods vigorously.Bahet points to the telecom office building that was bombed by the Americans in 1991, “If we have war, everything will be destroyed.” Then he smiles, “Of course, I’m wor ried about my family. But where do we go ? Maybe after the war there will be an Opposition. For the moment Saddam means stability.”advertisementIt is middle-class folk like Bahet who have borne the brunt of the Saddam-Sam mutual hate club. Some live on pensions of a dollar a month, which, even by Iraq’s subsidised food and housing parameters, is a pittance. Lecturers now seek jobs as domestic help, locals tell you.It is this “silent majority” that America is betting on. In the words of a diplomat: “Till 1991, Saddam was the popular patriarch. Not since. They may not like the Americans but may just stay neutral in case of a conflict.” Should that happen, Saddam will have to pack his bags.For both Saddam and America, the stakes are enormous. For the US, Saddam’s removal is integral to President George W. Bush’s war against terror. The Iraqi leader has been charged with helping Osama bin Laden-an accusation that disappeared when hard evidence was not forthcoming-and, more important, pursuing a chemical and biological weapons programme that could some day threaten America.America looks to a friendly regime in Iraq that will allow it military bases. From here, it will keep watch on the trouble spots of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. The royal family in Riyadh is seen as an unreliable ally and is in any case unpopular. If Saudi Arabia implodes, the world oil economy will go to pieces.With 265 billion barrels of oil reserves, Saudi Arabia controls a quarter of the planet’s most vital energy resource. Iraq is a distant second at about 11 per cent or 100 billion barrels of proven reserves. Under the US tutelage, it may limit the Saudi hold on the oil market and provide the world’s biggest petroleum consuming country the energy security it seeks.Saddam will do his best to avoid a war. The differential between the American and Iraqi armouries is simply too vast-whatever rebuilding Saddam may have done in the past decade-to allow for an even contest. Should war break out, Saddam will take recourse to battling the invading allies with civilian logistical backing or “a fight from every house” as he terms it. If he has truly lost almost all popular support-as foreign intelligence agencies believe-then even that may prove a non-starter. Officially Iraq expects America to attack after the holy month of Ramzan, which ends on December 4. If a UN resolution delays things, the attack could come in January. The plan is to resort to “coercive inspections”. UN weapons inspectors will arrive in Iraq with mini armies at their command. They will want to check everything, right down to Saddam’s palaces and personal rooms.At some stage they will provoke the man into refusal. That will be the casus belli and America will attack. Saddam’s best bet is to be patient and give the inspectors no cause for complaint. If he staves off the US Central Command troops till March-April, he’s home and dry. The Americans, Baghdad reckons, wouldn’t want to fight in the searing heat of May.The other American calculation is that Saddam may be done in by a palace coup, that somebody in his immediate power circle may decide dumping him is wiser. The course seems logical but identifying the possible rebel is not easy. Saddam shares authority with few outside his family or clan. His chief lieutenants are his sons.Udai Hussein is brash and violent, head of the state-run media and of the National Olympic Committee, giving him control of the young and the restless. Kusai, Udai’s younger brother, has recently emerged as the more favoured son. He controls the Revolutionary Guards militia and the security agencies.Iraq is also a religio-ethnic minefield. It is embattled by the longstanding Kurdish insurgency in the northern areas. In the south, Shia discontent is strong. Saddam is trying to invoke Iraqi nationalism by suggesting the Americans will break up Iraq and create two or three nations-Kurdistan, a Shia homeland and the Sunni-held rump.But analysts say the last thing the West wants is more instability in the region. It would prefer a federalised polity controlled by Baghdad. Some role for the Hashemite family that once ruled Iraq-cousins of the royals of Jordan-is not ruled out. As winter beckons, Iraq is quite simply the world’s speculation capital.In a country where a litre of petrol costs four cents but a similar quantity of packaged water could set you back by a dollar or more, don’t look for straight and rational answers. Like Rubaiya and Sherwani, enjoy it while it lasts-and make sure you know the route to the nearest bomb shelter.last_img read more

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In A StarDominated Sport Theres Still A Place For Unselfish Basketball

“Those Knicks teams — the ’69-’70 team, the ’72-73 team — when you talk to basketball purists about the greatest teams they’ve ever seen, that little era always comes up,” a radio voice intones early in Michael Rapaport’s “When The Garden Was Eden,” a “30 for 30” film debuting on ESPN Tuesday. “That’s the way you’re supposed to play basketball.”Speaking as a card-carrying basketball purist (or at least a basketball history nut), he’s right — particularly on that last point. The Knicks of that era rank highly among the all-time great NBA teams, but not at the very top. Instead, where they really stand out is in how they won.The 1969-70 New York Knicks, who won the first of the franchise’s only two championships, consistently rank among the most dominant regular-season teams in NBA history, especially relative to the spread of talent in the league at that time. After adjusting for strength of schedule, their per-game point differential was +8.4 (17th all-time); it also outpaced the second-place Milwaukee Bucks that year by 4.2 points per game, the sixth-biggest gap ever between the league leader and runner-up. That was a big part of why the Knicks’ schedule-adjusted scoring margin was 2.4 standard deviations better than the average team’s in 1969-70 — the second-best such mark ever.The 1969-70 Knicks struggled on the road in the playoffs and were taken the distance twice in the span of three series. But the team’s playoff run — which saw New York outlast the Baltimore Bullets (led by future Knick Earl Monroe), overpower a rookie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his Milwaukee Bucks, and survive the Los Angeles Lakers in a seven-game NBA Finals classic — also ranks among the 50 or so best ever, after taking into account whom they had to beat.And the 1972-73 Knicks did even better in the postseason after adjusting for their road to the championship. When I listed the most dominating playoff performances ever back in 2010, that team ranked 11th all-time. With the exception of the 2014 San Antonio Spurs, it’s unlikely that it has been supplanted by more recent champions. En route to the title, New York beat the Baltimore Bullets (+2.9 schedule-adjusted PPG differential) in five games, the Boston Celtics (+7.4) in seven, and the Los Angeles Lakers (an NBA-best +8.2) in five — just about the toughest path any team has ever gone through to win an NBA championship.But bottom-line results are only half the equation when aficionados rave about the Knicks of the early 1970s. Perhaps an even bigger factor is how the team achieved its success, with a reputation for playing one the most unselfish, pass-friendly styles in basketball history.This isn’t gauzy, New York-media-baked myth-making. Among historical NBA champions, the 1972-73 Knicks rank 14th in assist percentage (the ratio of made baskets that were assisted) relative to league average. And, more importantly, they had the most balanced distribution of shot attempts among their starting five players of any championship team ever. During the 1973 playoffs, their leading scorer (the incomparable Walt Frazier) took 20.8 percent of the team’s shots when on the floor, while the fifth-ranked shooter among its starters (Bill Bradley) took 18.7 percent. By comparison, the 1992 Chicago Bulls’ leader — Michael Jordan — took 37 percent of that team’s shots when on the floor, while Bill Cartwright took 11 percent. (Coincidentally, that Bulls team was coached by early-’70s Knicks forward Phil Jackson.)My research shows that most NBA champs are more like Michael and the Jordanaires than Frazier, Bradley, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed. Historically, teams with an uneven distribution of the offensive workload — particularly with regard to the difference between their top two scoring options and the rest of the starting five — tend to win championships at a much higher rate than teams that spread their shots around more equally.That they bucked this trend is probably the lasting legacy of the Red Holzman-coached Knicks. In a sport dominated by singular scorers like Jordan (usually with good reason), New York showed that there’s also a place for unselfish, collectivist basketball in the circle of NBA champions. And as my colleagues Ben Morris and Rafe Bartholomew have noted, the San Antonio Spurs (winners of the 2014 NBA championship) have carried the torch for this phenomenon in recent years.With the 2014-15 NBA season tipping off next week, the Knicks are unlikely to add a third championship banner to Madison Square Garden’s rafters. But Rapaport’s film will recall fond memories of a time when basketball-crazed New York City was the center of the sport’s universe. read more

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Ohio State aiming to avenge loss to Wisconsin gain revenge against Purdue

As if the Ohio State football team needed more motivation after suffering its first loss of the 2010 season against Wisconsin, its next opponent is a Purdue team that stunned the Buckeyes last season. “I think a lot of guys have had this one circled for a while now,” junior left tackle Mike Adams said. “At Ohio State, we never like to lose games.” Last season, a Boilermaker team that held a 1-5 record entering the game upset the Buckeyes, 26-18. Entering the game, OSU was ranked No. 7 in the nation. In the defeat, the Buckeyes committed nine penalties for 65 yards, compared to Purdue’s one penalty for five yards. For the second time since 2004, OSU had lost to a team that didn’t reach a BCS bowl game. “We didn’t play as well as we could,” junior linebacker Andrew Sweat told the media after Tuesday’s practice. “They played really well.” Adams said the coaches have been using last year’s loss as a motivational tool in hopes of preventing a second straight defeat. “They’re definitely reminding us. We got some posters up all over the place,” Adams said. “It’s something that they’re obviously going to do, and you know, we need to be aware, and we can’t let that happen again.” Sweat agreed that last year’s loss to Purdue motivates the Buckeyes but said neither team is the same as it was a year ago. “You remember it, but that just gives you motivation to do better this year,” Sweat said. “Ultimately, it’s a new year, and you just have to go out and fight.” Aside from avenging their loss to the Boilermakers, sophomore fullback Zach Boren said the Buckeyes are also motivated not to feel the sting of a loss for the second straight week. “It’s one of the worst feelings,” Boren said. “You’re kind of just sitting there in disbelief. You’re just like, ‘Wow, like, that just happened.’” OSU coach Jim Tressel said last year’s loss adds extra motivation for this year’s match-up, but he hopes his team gives the same kind of attention to each opponent on a weekly basis. “What you hope you have full attention of is what you have to do to get better, more so than it being Purdue,” Tressel said. Tressel also said he’s aware of the kind of attention the Buckeyes receive on a weekly basis. “We told our guys countless times that there are 10 teams that want one thing for sure, and that’s for Ohio State not to be the Big Ten champions,” Tressel said. “Now let’s see how you can handle it.” This year will be OSU’s chance to knock Purdue down from atop the Big Ten standings, just as the Boilermakers did to the Buckeyes a year ago. Purdue is in a three-way tie for the conference lead, with Michigan State and Iowa also undefeated in Big Ten play. “We know they’re going to come in here and play hard. We went up there last year and they beat us, so we just got to go out there and get it done this week,” senior safety Jermale Hines said. “Any time somebody beats you, it goes towards motivation.” read more

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