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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Record entries for SA World Cup
South Africa
South Africa qualify for the World Cup as hosts

A record 204 countries have entered the qualifying competition for the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa.

The number beats the previous record of 199 teams which entered for the 2002 finals.

Only Bhutan, Brunei, Laos and the Philippines have not registered to take part.

The number of entrants for 2010 includes host nation South Africa and Montenegro, which is expected to be admitted as the 208th member of Fifa in May.

The qualifying competition starts in August with the Oceania confederation using matches played in the South Pacific Games as a preliminary qualifying tournament.

South Africa have automatically qualified as hosts for the finals which begin on 11 June 2010 with the final scheduled for 11 July.

Of the 31 places available for the qualifiers, 13 will go to European teams while Africa will have six teams for the first time - including the hosts.

Play-offs will determine the exact number of qualifiers from the other confederations with Asia providing either four or five qualifiers, Concacaf three or four, South America four or five and Oceania either none or one.

Asia and Oceania teams will meet in one play-off while South American and Concacaf teams play in the other.



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