BOSTON — It’s not just 32 teams that are going to the 2010 World Cup. The hearts and souls of 32 countries are competing in South Africa too.

The World Cup is compelling because of the nexus of team and country — how each team is rooted in a nation’s history and culture and how the national psyche affects its performance (and vice versa).

GlobalPost’s World Cup 2010 Insider’s Guide takes advantage of our network of correspondents around the globe. We also describe — uniquely — each team's core, as only its fans at home understand it.

We reveal: why English, Dutch, Spanish and Mexican fans are consumed by a volatile mixture of hope and dread; why Argentines could turn on their greatest soccer hero; why Ivory Coast may be the great African hope; why the American team may feel less pressure than any; and why North Koreans may be the only fans unable to watch their team.

Our guide also delivers on soccer analysis — each team’s key players, tactics and Cup prospects. We hope you enjoy getting the inside scoop on the World Cup teams.


And then test your knowledge on our quiz.


Read the latest on World Cup 2010: soccer stars and stories




Denmark World Cup team hopes to go far

The Danes hope to make their mark in the soccer world by beating out European teams.

The Brits, as always, have big dreams for England World Cup team

England World Cup soccer team may have the players, coach and draw it needs to finally fulfill fans' lofty expectations.

France soccer World Cup fans have little faith in their team

A disappointing coach, disinterested fans and a prostitution scandal are weighing on France's national team ahead of the games.

Germany World Cup soccer fans revel in supporting their team

Germans, once wary of any show of nationalism, will celebrate their team in 2010 much as they did in 2006.

Greek heads aren't in the game

The country's economic crisis has distracted fans from the Greece World Cup team, but a soccer success could give spirits a much-needed lift.

Italy World Cup team aims to defend its reign as champions

Italy has a good shot at claiming victory yet again, but may be weighed-down by aging players and scandal.

Netherlands World Cup fans are cautiously optimistic

Holland's national soccer team, haunted by World Cups past, is hoping luck will finally be on its side at this year's games.

Portugal World Cup soccer team in scoring slump

Portugal, despite boasting A-list players including Cristiano Ronaldo, needs to start scoring if it is to succeed at the Cup.

Serbia World Cup team aims to make a name for itself

Serbia is setting out to establish itself as a powerhouse team at its first Cup as an independent soccer entity.

Slovakia World Cup team already successful

Slovakia already sees the Cup as a success after beating out the Czech Republic, with a shot at the second round if they capitalize on a lucky draw.

Slovenia World Cup team confident going into the games

The Slovenian team is positive in its own abilities and group placement, and in not repeating the embarrassment of the 2002 Cup.

Spain World Cup soccer fans expect their team to rise to the occasion

Spain's stumble in South Africa's Confederations Cup and injured star players aren't enough to discourage fans of their "beautiful game."

Switzerland World Cup team brings a multi-cultural face to South Africa

Although Switzerland is struggling with xenophobia it will bring a diverse, if not outstanding, team to the Cup.

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