Although many consider football to be a global sport, a look at the history of the World Cup shows only a handful of nations have mastered it. FIFA – the game's world governing body – recognizes 208 national associations but just seven have celebrated having the best team on the planet.
South Africa 2010 will be the 19th football World Cup. Of the previous 18 tournaments, five have been won by Brazil, four by Italy and three by Germany. Argentina and Uruguay have claimed two each and France and England one apiece. So, four European and three South American countries have triumphed but the world champions have never come from North America, Asia or Africa.
It is hard to see that record changing this time, although Africa's contenders will be bolstered by the first ever World Cup on their home continent. Ghana and Ivory Coast are arguably the strongest of those countries.