2010 FIFA World Cup: The Long and the Short Of It
Each World Cup tournament brings us bags of fantastic football, but also a lot of useless trivia to curb the appetite in the build up to the greatest show on earth consisting of the youngest players, oldest coaches, the smallest nation, and of course, the most fans.
Let's see just what this year's World Cup has to offer.
The nation that doesn't know "football" as football, the nation that is commonly derided by the rest of the football-ing world for calling the beautiful game "soccer," has bought a reported 160,000 tickets with England running in a close second.
USA, USA, USA!
The Little Dragons of Slovenia with a population of just over 2,054,199 may be a small fry but with a two leg European playoff victory over Russia to qualify, as well as knocking out the much fancied Czech Republic, in qualification, these small fries do not need to be afraid of anyone.
Highest Scoring Qualifiers
In European Group six, there were a total of 107 goals scored with England scoring the majority of them with 34. The irrepressible Wayne Rooney bagged nine in the process, but will the Three Lions be able to carry on where they left off in qualification?
Best Defense in Qualification
The Socceroo's would have expected to be in more of a fight since their move to the Asian group from the Oceania group, but the Aussies breezed through with the best defensive record of the qualification campaign.
The Socceroo's only conceded one goal in eight qualifying games.
Greece's Theofanis Gekas and Chile's Humberto Sauzo scored a whooping 10 goals apiece in qualifying.
The 39-year-old English goalkeeper will be going to his third World Cup Finals. He was with England in Japan and South Korea as well as Germany in 2006, but never made an appearance for the Three Lions at a Finals. Maybe, the third times the charm, and he will get his chance.
Oldest Outfield Player
The 37-year-old veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco has an astonishing 116 caps for Mexico. South Africa 2010 will be his third appearance in the World Cup Finals, it would have been his fourth if he hadn't been injured in the run up to Germany 2006.
The 18-year-old Tommy Oar will be making his first appearance at a World Cup in South Africa. The precocious left winger Oar will be hoping that he can help the Socceroo's hop past Germany, Serbia and Ghana to reach the knock out phase.
The 71-year-old Otto Rehhagel has led the Greeks since the early 21st Century. He was the first foreign manager to lead a country to a major title when he directed Greece to the Euro '94 title. His Greek side beating hosts Portugal in the final as well as beating France, Spain and the Czech Republic on the way to the final.
Can the veteran take the Greeks to the ultimate prize?
Vladimir Weiss, the 45-year-old coach of Slovakia, played in the 1990 World Cup for Czechoslovakia. He has 19 caps for Czechoslovakia and also 12 caps for Slovakia.
His son of the same name will be representing Slovakia with him.
Serbia's Nikola Zigic at 6'8" (2.03 m) is the tallest player in the tournament. England's Peter Crouch at 6' 7" (2.01 m) and South Africa's Matthew Booth is 6' 6.5" (199 m) tall compete closely with Zigic for the tallest player.
The Rainbow nation will be hoping that their Bafana Bafana will not buck the trend as the only host nation to not qualify for the knockout stage.
Most World Cup Records
Brazil has won the most World Cups with five.
They have qualified for the most tournaments, with 19 times (every tournament so far, the only country to do so).
Brazil have appeared in seven finals, the same as Germany but have won five finals in comparison to Germany's three.
Brazil's 64 wins represent the most wins by a country.
Brazil has scored 201 goals, the most by a single country.