With South Africa 2010 about to begin, FIFA.com takes a look at some of the statistics behind the 32 competing nations - and at some of the records that might fall over the next five weeks.
million people make USA the largest country in population to be represented at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ with Brazil next biggest with 198m. In area size, the US also stands alone – 9,629,000 km² with Brazil again ranked second at 8,511,000. Slovenia are the smallest representatives – both in population (2million) and size (20,000 km²).
will be the number of FIFA World Cup matches played by Spain when they start their Group H campaign on 16 June against Switzerland in Durban. Mexico (currently on 45) will also hope to reach the half-century in this tournament while Cameroon will become the first African team to rack up 20 appearances.
FIFA World Cup campaigns make Brazil the only country to have competed in every tournament. Germany and Italy are next best on 16. Brazil and Germany share the highest number of matches played - 92 – with the Seleção notching most wins – 64. They have also scored most goals – 201 – and gained most points: 206.
goals have been scored by England in 12 FIFA World Cup games dating back to their 2-0 victory over Columbia at France 1988. David Beckham scored the second goal that day and he played a big part in no less than nine of the 14 goals that followed, scoring two and providing assists for seven. No wonder many England fans regret his absence through injury from the global finals in South Africa.
seconds is all it took for Turkey’s Hakan Sukur to score the fastest-ever FIFA World Cup goal. It came in the third-place play-off against host nation Korea Republic in 2002. Turkey, 3-1 ahead after 32 minutes, went on to win the game 3-2.
was the number of goals scored in the Opening Match at Germany 2006 when the hosts beat Costa Rica 4-2. This, however, is not the biggest score in a FIFA World Cup curtain-raiser - that came in Italy 1934 when the hosts hammered USA 7-1. Before 2006, there were goals in all the previous six such fixtures – though only a combined total of nine – but the four before that all ended 0-0.
is the number of FIFA World Cups, including the 2010 edition that South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has appeared in, enabling him to set a new benchmark. He will be in charge of his fifth team, breaking the record of four he previously held jointly with Bora Milutinovic, after first coaching Kuwait in 1982, United Arab Emirtes in 1990, Brazil to the crown in 1994 and Saudi Arabia in France 1998, Legendary German coach Helmut Schon holds the record for most FIFA World Cup games as a coach (25) but Parreira will overtake him should Bafana Bafana reach the semi-finals.
is the number of times Mexico have been selected to play the opening game of the tournament. They have still to taste victory in the fixture, losing 4-1 to France in 1930, 4-0 to Brazil in 1950 and 3-0 to Sweden in 1958, while their 1970 game with the Soviet Union ended 0-0.
was the number of games played by Switzerland at 2006 Germany and the number of clean sheets they kept, thus becoming the first team to be eliminated from a FIFA World Cup without letting in a goal. If they prevent Spain from scoring in their opening game in Durban on 16 June they will then draw level with Italy (1990) with the record for consecutive games with a watertight defence. Ironically the Swiss had failed to keep a single clean sheet in their other 22 games played on football’s biggest stage. Four years ago they reached the Round of 16 and were then ousted on penalties by Ukraine after a 0-0 stalemate. The 3-0 spot-kick defeat was also the first time a team had failed to score in a shoot-out in the tournament.
FIFA World Cup newcomer is taking part at South Africa 2010: Slovakia. It is the fewest number of debutants since 1950, when England took part for the first time. In every other edition there have been at least two FIFA World Cup first-timers.
is the number of defeats suffered by the host nation when they have played in the competition’s Opening Match. There have been seven such fixtures, producing five wins for the hosts (Italy 1934, Brazil 1950, Sweden 1958, Chile 1962 and Germany 2006) and two 0-0 draws (England v Uruguay 1966 and Mexico v Soviet Union 1970).