David Beckham is on track to win the 100th England cap he craves in a friendly against France in Paris next week after winning a recall to the squad for Fabio Capello's second match in charge.
Head coach Capello has also recalled Arsenal teenager Theo Walcott, nearly two years after he won his one and only cap as England's youngest ever player, and handed Middlesbrough defender David Wheater a first international call-up.
Chelsea's John Terry and Frank Lampard, who both missed Capello's first match in charge, return to the 30-man provisional squad after recovering from injuries which kept them out of last month's 2-1 win over Switzerland.
There was no place in the group for Manchester United's highly-rated young goalkeeper Ben Foster, who had been tipped to be included following his recovery from knee surgery and an impressive United debut at Derby last weekend.
The squad will be whittled down to a final group of 23 on Saturday night, even though many of the players will involved in the Manchester United-Liverpool and Chelsea-Arsenal Premier League matches on Sunday.
Beckham was watched by Capello's assistant Franco Baldini in a friendly for his club, LA Galaxy, in Dallas at the weekend and obviously did enough to convince the Italians that he is fit enough to win his 100th cap in the Stade de France.
Capello, who managed Beckham at Real Madrid, left the 32-year-old midfielder out of his squad to face Switzerland but made it clear at the time that he was willing to extend his international career.
Beckham's recall comes at the expense of the Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon, who unexpectedly failed to make the squad, but he is not expected to dislodge Blackburn's David Bentley from the starting line-up.
Bentley has been in fine form for his club and was arguably England's most impressive performer in the win over Switzerland.
The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Walcott, although the move had been telegraphed when the 19-year-old Arsenal forward was left out of the England under-21 squad earlier in the week.
Walcott became the youngest England international in history when he made his debut against Hungary in a pre-Germany 2006 friendly.
But that remains his one and only cap and the forward's development has not been as quick as some anticipated when he was included in England's squad for the world finals.
Walcott is not yet a first-team regular at Arsenal but has produced some effective performances as a substitute this season, notably when he came on during Arsenal's Champions League win over AC Milan, a match for which Baldini was in the San Siro.
There was no announcement on whether Steven Gerrard would continue as captain following the return of Terry, who served as skipper throughout the short-lived reign of Capello's predecessor, Steve McClaren.
England begin their bid to reach South Africa away to Andorra on 6 September.
Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Scott Carson (Aston Villa), Chris Kirkland (Wigan)
Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), John Terry (Chelsea), Wes Brown (Man Utd), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham), Matthew Upson (West Ham)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), David Bentley (Blackburn), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy/USA), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Owen Hargreaves (Man Utd), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham)
Forwards: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Michael Owen (Newcastle), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth)