Group B: Team-by-Team Previews
Paraguay, Slovenia, South Africa and Spain
May 24, 2002
FIFA Ranking: 14th (tied)
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished fourth in CONMEBOL Final Group (9-6-3; 29 GF, 23 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 6– 1930 (9th), 1950 (11th), 1958 (12th), 1986 (13th), 1998 (14th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 4-5-6
Manager: Cesare Maldini (ITA)
Championship Honors: 1953 Copa America champions
Fast Facts: Led by headline grabbing goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, Paraguay have qualified for their second consecutive World Cup. … Despite Chilavert’s presence, Paraguay allowed 1.28 goals per game (and 23 overall goals) across 18 qualifiers, both the worst of all 29 qualifying nations.
FIFA Ranking: 28th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 1” (5-0-5; 17 GF, 9 GA); defeated Romania in home-and-home playoff 3-2 on aggregate score.
World Cup final appearances: 1 – 2002
Overall Record in WC: First appearance
Manager: Sreckok Katanec (SVN)
Fast Facts: Went undefeated in surviving a group with Russia, Switzerland and Yugoslavia, and a playoff with Romania. … Opened with just one win and four draws, before finishing with four wins and one draw … In their first attempt to qualify for the World Cup in 1998, they failed to win a match in eight games. … Team is led by forward and leading scorer Zlatko Zahovic.
FIFA Ranking: 36th (tied)
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won Africa “Group 5” (5-0-1; 10 GF, 3 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1998 (24th), 2002
Overall Record in WC 0-1-2
Manager: Jomo Sono (RSA)
Championship Honors: 1996 African Nations Cup champions
Fast Facts: Best known for their return to the international stage in winning the 1996 African Nations Cup at home. … The team is nicknamed “Bafana Bafana”, which means “the boys” in Zulu.
FIFA Ranking: 7th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won UEFA “Group 7” (6-0-2; 21 GF, 4 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 11 – 1934 (5th), 1950 (4th), 1962 (13th), 1966 (10th), 1978 (10th), 1982 (12th), 1986 (7th), 1990 (10th), 1994 (8th), 1998 (17th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 16-14-10
Manager: Jose Antonio Camacho (ESP)
Championship Honors: 1964 European Cup champions; 1992 Olympic champions
Fast Facts: Have qualified for 11 World Cups, but their best finish is just fourth place in 1950. … Have qualified for seven straight World Cups, but in that span have advanced to the quarterfinals just twice. … Swept through qualifying with an undefeated record and a plus-17 goal differential.