Y. Nakazawa (C)
While teammate Keisuke Honda jetted into Japan declaring the Blue Samurai can win the Cup, captain Yuki Nakazawa had explosive news of his own. He unveiled the new boots he will wear in South Africa, emblazoned with a flame-coloured “volcanic lava” stripe and his name on the sides, also in fiery orange. “They're as hot as my personality,” boasted Nakazawa. “I will be on fire when I wear these.”
Key players: Shunsuke Nakamura, Keisuke Honda, Yuji Nakazawa.
Coach: Takeshi Okada.
Record: P:10 W:2 D:2 L:6
G. Bronckhorst (C)
Perennial underachievers, The Netherlands will look to set things right with a confident attacking side. The side won all eight games in qualifying. The group stage should not pose many problems. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van Der Vaart and Robin van Persie will enthuse the Dutch to go one better than 1974 and 1978. They are one of the favourites, provided they can find it in themselves to perform cohesively.
Key players: Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Mark van Bommel, Rafael van der Vaart
Coach: Bert van Marwijk
Record: P:36 W:16 D:10 L:10
S. Eto’o (C)
Considering Cameroon are the only African team besides Senegal to have ever made it to a WC quarterfinal, their presence cannot be overlooked. Though the sheen of Roger Milla’s 1990 side is missing, the new generation will look to emulate their heroes. With keeper Carlos Kameni, defender Rigobert Song and Eto'o up front, this side will not be pushovers. With the the highest FIFA ranking for an African nation, The Indomitable Lions will seek to live up to the multitude of expectations.
Key players: Samuel Eto'o, Jean Makoun, Alexandre Song.
Coach: Paul Le Guen.
Record: P:17 W:4 D:7 L:6.
J. Dahl Tomasson (C)
Reaching the knock-out phase is a realistic goal for Denmark at the WC, coach Morten Olsen said. “We are not Spain, we are not the Netherlands. The Dutch have a relistic chance of becoming world champions. For us it is a realistic ambition, to begin with, to make it to the knock-out phase,” he said. The coach and assistants have prepared by watching the most recent matches played by their group-phase opponents.
Key players: Dennis Rommedahl, Christian Poulsen, Daniel Agger, Nicklas Bendtner.
Coach: Morten Olsen.
Record: P:13 W:7 D:2 L:4.