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DID YOU KNOW?
THE WORLD CUP has never been won by a team with a foreign coach.
THE HOST TEAM has never failed to advance from the first round.
SIX WORLD CUPS have been won by the hosts: Uruguay (1930), Italy ('34), England ('66), West Germany ('74), Argentina ('78) and FRANCE ('98).
SEVEN COUNTRIES have qualified for this World Cup and the preceding five: Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain and the U.S.
THROUGH LATE MAY, Spain had lost only once in 3½ years (45 games): to the U.S. in the 2009 Confederations Cup.
ALL-WORLD CUP TEAM
PREDICTING A WORLD CUP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM is an inexact science. It's hard to include any player who fails to survive the group stage, and choices often have as much to do with previous reputations as with performance on the field. A player can, however, establish his reputation for life at the World Cup. Pelé, Maradona, Zidane: You can't be considered one of the greats unless you win the Big One. That is the challenge facing Lionel Messi and any other player aspiring to head this select team.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]