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World Cup Power Rankings:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

1. Spain

The reigning European champions and FIFA's top-ranked team, they qualified with a 100% record of 10 wins from 10 games which has contributed to a run of 44 matches with just one defeat.

2. Brazil

Five-time World Cup winners, the Samba kings stuttered their way through qualifying somewhat, losing two games and finishing only a point ahead of Chile and Paraguay. FIFA ranking: 2.

3. Netherlands

Another of the European giants to qualify with a 100% record and the third-best team in the world by FIFA's rankings. Twice finalists but never winners - will they flatter to deceive once again?

4. Italy

The holders (they beat France in the 2006 final on penalties), finished six points clear of Republic of Ireland in their qualifying group but had scares along the way. Four-time winners.

5. Portugal

Another of the heavyweights who needed the play-offs to qualify, in their case after finishing second to Denmark. Twice beaten in the semis, can Cristiano Ronaldo take them further?

6. Germany

Three-time winners, most recently in 1990, Germany will be buoyed after heading fellow European heavyweights Russia in an unbeaten qualifying campaign. Ranked six by FIFA.

7. France

Have featured in two of the last three finals but only qualified via the play-offs after finishing second in the group Serbia topped and thanks to Thierry Henry's infamous handball.

8. Argentina

Only qualified after scrapping to a last-game victory over Uruguay. Diego Maradona inspired the last of their two World Cup triumphs as a player - can he do the same as coach?

9. England

Only a defeat in Ukraine in their penultimate qualifier prevented a 100% record and Fabio Capello won plenty of plaudits along the way. Lifted the trophy in 1966 with 44 years of hurt since.

10. Cameroon

FIFA's highest-ranked African team, the Indomitable Lions reached a sixth Finals by topping a group also featuring Gabon, Togo and Morocco. Runners-up in the last African Nations Cup.

11. Greece

The surprise Euro 2004 winners, Greece were another to qualify by edging out Ukraine 1-0 in their two-legged play-off after finishing second behind Switzerland in their group.
United States

12. United States

Pipped Mexico to top spot in CONCACAF qualifying and also beat them in the Gold Cup to qualify for the Confederations Cup. Semi-finalists once - but that was way back in 1930.

13. Mexico

Finished just a point behind the United States to qualify comfortably in CONCACAF despite three defeats in 10 games. The Mexicans have not missed a World Cup since 1990.
Ivory Coast

14. Ivory Coast

The men who would be kings in Africa, they qualified with an unbeaten record. Their current FIFA ranking of 16th is their highest ever - just five years ago they were languishing in 75th.

15. Chile

Back at the top table of world football after finishing second only to Brazil, though they did lose five of their 18 qualifiers. Currently ranked 17 by FIFA they have been as high as sixth.

16. Switzerland

Topped a hard-fought group also featuring the likes of Greece, Latvia and Israel to book a ninth Finals appearance. Ranked 18th by FIFA and yet to really shine on the biggest stage.

17. Uruguay

Needed a CONMEBOL/CONCACAF play-off with Costa Rica to progress after finishing fifth in qualifying with six defeats from 18 games. Two-time winners, the last back in 1950.

18. Serbia

Forced France into the play-offs by qualifying with a game to spare despite losing one match more than the French. They separated from Montenegro after the last World Cup.

19. Australia

Secured one of the automatic qualification places available in Asia by topping a group also including Japan with an unbeaten record. Coach Pim Verbeek is eyeing the quarter-finals.

20. Nigeria

Another to take qualification to the wire as a 3-2 win in Kenya saw them pip Tunisia to a place in South Africa. After missing Germany, this will be their fourth World Cup.

21. Denmark

Six wins from 10 qualifiers saw Denmark through automatically and forced Portugal into the play-offs. Ranked 26th, the Danes will be appearing at only their fourth World Cup.

22. Algeria

Qualified in dramatic fashion as a 2-0 defeat by Egypt set up a play-off between the sides, which the Algerians edged 1-0. This will be their first World Cup appearance since 1986.

23. Paraguay

Qualified comfortably after finishing above Argentina and Uruguay. France '98 marked their return after a 12-year absence and they've qualified for each of the Finals since.

24. Slovenia

Back at the World Cup for a second appearance since gaining independence, Slovenia stunned powerhouses Russia in their two-legged play-off to qualify.

25. Slovakia

Topped a group featuring Slovenia (who qualified) and the Czech Republic (who didn't) to secure a World Cup place for the first time since gaining independence.

26. Ghana

Back at the World Cup for only the second time (2006 was their debut) after topping their qualification group despite losing to nearest rivals Benin. Four-time African champions.

27. Honduras

Back at the World Cup for the first time since 1982, the Catrachos edged out Costa Rica in qualifying after finishing level on points with them. Ranked 38th by FIFA.

28. Japan

Qualified comfortably after losing just one of their eight qualifiers (to table-toppers Australia), this will be their fourth successive appearance in a World Cup Finals.
South Korea

29. South Korea

Surprise semi-finalists in 2002, South Korea booked their seventh successive Finals appearance by topping a group also featuring rivals and fellow qualifiers North Korea.
New Zealand

30. New Zealand

The sole Oceanic qualifiers after comfortably topping their group then edging past Bahrain in a two-legged play-off. This is their first World Cup appearance since back in 1982.
North Korea

31. North Korea

Back at the Finals for the first time since 1966, North Korea qualified after finishing second to South Korea in their qualifying group. Quarter-finalists on their last appearance.
South Africa

32. South Africa

The tournament hosts but also the lowest-ranked team by FIFA in 86th, Carlos Alberto Parreira is back in charge after they failed to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup.

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