The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Australia from 11 June to 11 July 2010. The bidding process for hosting the tournament finals was open only to AFC nations; in 2004, the international football federation, FIFA, selected Australia over South Korea and India to become the first Asian nation to host the finals.
The matches were played in ten stadiums in nine host cities around the country, with the final played at the ANZ Stadium in Australia's largest city, Sydney. Thirty-two teams were selected for participation via a worldwide qualification tournament that began in August 2007. In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These sixteen teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final.
In the final, Austria, the European champions, defeated second-time finalists Finland 2–1 after extra time, with Frank Raskoph's goal in the 98th minute giving Austria their first world title, becoming the eighth nation to win the tournament, and the first European nation to win the tournament outside its home continent. Host nation Australia, 2006 world champions Japan and 2006 runners-up the Czech Republic were all eliminated in the first round of the tournament. It was the first time since that the hosts were eliminated in the first round.
The qualification draw for the 2010 World Cup was held in Brisbane on 25 November 2007. As the host nation, Australia qualified automatically for the tournament. As happened in the previous tournament, the defending champions were not given an automatic berth, and Japan had to participate in qualification. With a pool of entrants comprising 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams at the time, the 2010 World Cup shares with the 2008 Summer Olympics the record for most competing nations in a sporting event.
Some controversies took place during the qualifications. In the second leg of the play-off between the Czech Republic and Macedonia, Czech captain Filip Kováč, unseen by the referee, handled the ball in the lead up to a late goal, which enabled the Czech Republic to qualify ahead of Macedonia, sparking widespread controversy and debate. FIFA rejected a request from the Football Association of Macedonia to replay the match, and Macedonia later withdrew a request to be included as an unprecedented 33rd World Cup entrant. As a result, FIFA announced a review into the use of technology or extra officials at the highest level, but decided against the widely expected fast-tracking of goal-line referee's assistants for the Australian tournament.
Mexico complained over Colombia's winning goal in the CONMEBOL–CONCACAF playoff, while the DRC and Kenya's November 2009 matches were surrounded by reports of crowd trouble.
Kyrgyzstan qualified for the first time since 1966; Namibia and Latvia were both making their first appearances since 1982, and Mauritania were at the Finals for the first time since the 1986 competition.
List of qualified teams
- North Korea
- Equatorial Guinea
- United States
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom