Qualifying started in August 2007 and continued until November 2009. In total, including hosts South Africa, 32 teams qualified for the tournament. Holders Italy were required to qualify too - and they did, being one of Europe's 13 Qualifiers.
Including the hosts, 6 African nations qualified. They are:
Asia had a chance for 5 qualifiers, 4 directly from the Asian qualifying process and a 5th from a play off with the Oceania Group. In the event, just four teams qualified:
Europe has the largest number of qualifiers - 13:
North, Central America & Caribbean
3 teams would qualify direct from the qualifying pool with a potential of a fourth from a play off with the South American qualifying group. In the event, just the three teams qualified (Costa Rica lost out to Uruguay):
From South America, 5 teams qualified:
Uruguay (play off versus Costa Rica)
New Zealand won the Oceania qualifying group and then still had to play off with Bahrain in order to quaify, which they duly did.