Fifa has announced that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will take place between 11 June and 11 July.
South Africa is set to stage a World Cup on African soil for the first time
World football's Executive Committee has also decided to keep the qualifying format from the last World Cup so the host's place is guaranteed.
"We didn't change anything," said Fifa president Sepp Blatter.
Blatter reiterated that Fifa had faith in South Africa, but added: "...we have said that they should bring a little bit of fire to the preparations."
The decision to keep the same number of qualifying places will see five African teams plus South Africa secure a place in the tournament.
In addition, there will be places for 13 European countries, five Asian and Oceania teams, and a total of eight for South America and the Central American region.
The bidding process for the 2014 World Cup was also officially opened after the two-day meeting.
This will be held in South America, with Brazil as favourites, after a decision in May 2002 to rotate the competition on a continent basis.
But Blatter added: "We have said that the 2014 World Cup will be staged in South America, but if there is no candidate strong enough then we would go north instead as the logical thing.
"We took the decision to ask South America's 10 associations if they wanted to organise the World Cup and now nine of them have come out in favour of Brazil.
"But Brazil would still have to undergo the same scrutiny as previous bids.
"The bar has been set very high after the last World Cup (in Germany) and if the only candidate from South America were not to fulfil the requirements then we would go beyond South America."
Meanwhile, Jack Warner, a Fifa vice-president, has been reprimanded after being involved in a World Cup ticket scandal but has escaped any disciplinary action.
Warner was identified in an official report as having bought World Cup tickets that were then re-sold at up to three times their face value.