As the host nation, South Africa qualifies automatically. However, South Africa are the first hosts since 1934 to participate in World Cup qualifiers. This is because the CAF qualifiers will also serve as the qualifying tournament for the 2010 African Cup of Nations, for which South Africa must qualify separately. Since 2002 the defending champions no longer qualify automatically.
The preliminary draw for the 2010 World Cup was held in Durban, South Africa on November 25, 2007.
In world football there are various methods used to separate teams with equal points in a league. For the World Cup tournament, FIFA uses the following system.
In the league format, the ranking in each group is determined as follows:
a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
b) goal difference in all group matches;
c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined as follows:
d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
g) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.