Diary dates for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

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The Independent Online

The 2010 FIFA World Cup, soccer's pre-eminent international competition, runs from June 11 to July 11 in South Africa. Ahead of the tournament itself, fans and pundits alike will be speculating on which players will represent their countries and national football associations are expected to start naming their squads on May 1, with an official squad list submission deadline on May 28.

As is tradition, the host nation starts proceedings after a grand opening ceremony with a match against fellow Group A team Mexico, who themselves hosted World Cup competitions in 1970 and 1986. The two remaining teams in Group A then face each other later in the day.

Forty-eight of the tournament's 64 matches will take place during the group stages which come to a close on Friday, June 25. The knockout rounds commence on Saturday, June 26 with what is known as the 'Round of 16', where group winners meet group runners-up to play for a place in the Quarterfinals.

Those Quarterfinals take place on Friday, July 2 and Saturday, July 3, and the ensuing Semifinals are both evening matches on Tuesday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 7.

The Semifinalists who fail to make it through to the Final meet up on Saturday, July 10 in the Third Place playoff, and events come full circle as the Final takes place back at Johannesburg's Soccer City on Sunday, July 11, 20:30 local time.

Initial squad announcements
Saturday, May 1

Final squad submission deadline
Friday, May 28

Opening ceremony and first match
Friday, June 11, 15:00 GMT
South Africa v Mexico
Soccer City, Johannesburg



Group stage matches
Saturday, June 12 - Monday, June 21
12:30, 15:00, 19:30 GMT

Last round of group stage matches
Tuesday, June 22 - Friday, June 25
15:00 & 19:30 GMT

Round of 16
Saturday, June 26 - Tuesday, June 29
15:00 & 19:30 GMT

Quarterfinals
Friday, July 2, 15:00 GMT & 19:30 GMT
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Soccer City, Johannesburg

Saturday, July 3, 15:00 GMT & 19:30 GMT
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Semifinals
Tuesday, 6 July, 19:30 GMT
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Wednesday, 7 July, 19:30 GMT
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Third-place playoff
Saturday, July 10, 19:30 GMT
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Grand Final
Sunday, July 11, 19:30 GMT
Soccer City, Johannesburg

Link to FIFA's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Match Schedule: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/documents/index.html

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