South Africa has unmistakably appeared on the horizon for footballing nations around the globe, as the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ comes inexorably closer. The next milestone arrives this weekend, with a qualifying programme in Oceania, Asia, Africa, America - and in Europe, where the national teams contest their very first fixtures in the bid for places at the global showdown less than two years from now.
The footballing world has turned its focus firmly onto the first FIFA World Cup to be held on African soil. It goes without saying that users of FIFA.com, the official website of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, are licking their lips at the prospect of the forthcoming qualifying duels, especially as the weekend schedule feature a series of titanic clashes on all continents. In our latest poll, we asked which of the fixtures is the biggest draw of them all, and you came up with a clear answer!
* All eyes on Buenos Aires*
The top match takes place in South America, where surprise leaders Paraguay travel to face a star-studded Argentina. The Paraguayans will be determined to maintain or even extend their two-point advantage over the Gauchos, currently second in the standings and themselves looking to leapfrog the Albirrojos and recover top spot. An impressive 44.61% of you named this match, which kicks off at 4 pm local time in Buenos Aires on Saturday, as the biggest game of the weekend.
Four other games ran each other close in our user poll. At the end of the day, the showdown between leading Asian football powers Saudi Arabia and Iran, kicking off at 10.15 pm in Riyadh on Saturday, finished second on 14.13%, closely followed by Austria’s meeting with 2006 FIFA World Cup runners-up France on 13.28%. The clash in Vienna at 8.30 pm on Saturday is part of the first round of European qualifiers.
Some 12.08% of the votes went to the top match in North, Central America and the Caribbean, where Cuba will be looking to upset the USA at 8 pm on Saturday in Havana. Almost as many users (11.52%) are most looking forward to Nigeria’s visit to South Africa at 3 pm on Saturday in Port Elizabeth, although the very first of the weekend’s big games, which brings together Oceania big guns New Caledonia and New Zealand at 5 pm local time in Noumea, was also nominated by 4.37% of our users.
* Want to go to South Africa?*
Has your appetite for the 2010 finals been whetted yet? Are you excited at the prospect of the greatest footballing show on earth coming to South Africa? Think you know which nations will qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa? Play the McDonald's FIFA World Cup Predictor game and enter the McDonald's FIFA World Cup Fantasy football manager contest, and with a bit of luck, you could be on your way to South Africa!
Access the games using the links on the right.