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The eight groups are decided...

The big story from this evening's 2010 World Cup draw in Cape Town came from Group G where Brazil, Ivory Coast, and Portugal were positioned together along with North Korea in the 'Group of Death'.

Hosts South Africa had a tough draw in Group A along with Mexico, Uruguay and France.

Holders Italy will have to make their way past Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia as they attempt to retain the trophy they won in Germany in 2006.

The opening game of the tournament will see South Africa play Mexico in Johannesburg on 11 June.

South African actress Charlize Theron, England international David Beckham, Ethiopian athletics legend Haile Gebrselassie, South African cricket pioneer Makhaya Ntini, Springbok rugby player John Smit, and Bafana defender Matthew Booth helped conduct the draw at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in front of a crowd of luminaries including Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio, and Desmond Tutu.

Geographical criteria meant that no two teams from the same confederation could be drawn in the same group, with the exception of European teams where a maximum of two were permitted.

All eight groups in full:

Group A
Group B
 South Africa Argentina
 Mexico
Nigeria
Uruguay South Korea
France Greece

Group C
Group D
England Germany
 USA  Australia
Algeria Serbia
Slovenia Ghana

Group E
Group F
 Netherlands Italy
Denmark Paraguay
 Japan New Zealand
 Cameroon Slovakia

Group G
Group H
Brazil Spain
 North Korea Switzerland
Cote d'Ivoire Honduras
Portugal Chile


Now that the groups are drawn, the path to the semi-final is known, for the winners of Group A face the runners up of Group B, and the winners of Group G face the runners up on Group H, and so on, with A-D and E-H forming two sides of a bracket.

There is a distinct possibility that favourites Brazil could meet second favourites Spain in the second round. With Portugal and Ivory Coast also in Group G, it is guaranteed that at least two big guns will be eliminated before the quarter final out of these four teams.

Carlo Garganese, Goal.com

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