The Brazilian, who has endured a tough start to his tenure thus far with Bafana Bafana after seeing his side crash out of the qualifiers for the 2010 African Nations Cup in September, was given much cause for optimism following the draw at the Sandton Convention Centre.

He expressed his delight, adding that South Africa's recent form - they have four wins from their past four internationals - should give the country hope of a good performance next June.

He said: "I'm very happy with the draw. We play in a group with teams of top quality. We hope that all will go well for us in the tournament, and we are very happy to represent South Africa.

"All of the teams coming to South Africa are champions. We need to work hard to challenge them."

Santana also said that his side's current situation showed that the plan started by his predecessor was now coming together.

"I began five months ago in a project which Carlos Parreira started two years ago. We are now about midway through.

"However, we've now got 80 per cent of the players, which we believe are the best for the squad.

"We've had some turbulence, but we think that in 2009 people will see how much we have already improved."

The 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts will face Iraq in their opening game on June 14 and the coach of the Asian champions Jorvan Vieira explained that there were no easy teams in the competition, despite his team being pooled in arguably the weaker of the two groups.

"I don't have a reason to be happy," he said. "We are playing against the host country, which should draw a lot of spectators. The best team will win.

"We will have to prepare will because we need to represent our country and also Asia at this event. We're going to bring our best players to this event and I hope that we will do well."

Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque was satisfied with the draw, but admitted that he knew little about their opponents.

"It is true that they are unknown to us, but we will seek all the information before June," he said. "I think this is a very interesting draw for all these teams. It is an interesting mixture of styles.

"But I hope that our style will ultimately be the one which wins the group. We are very pleased to be able to take part in this tournament in this wonderful country.

"We know that have to be respectful of all the teams in this tournament and we'll have to see who emerges as the best."

New Zealand Football chairman, Frank Van Hattum, added: "We're very excited. The last time we played Spain was in 1974.

"For New Zealand to play in any world tournament is a great thing and we hope we can spring some surprises."

The Oceania champions will open their Confederations Cup campaign against their European counterparts in the late match on June 14.

Group B is made up of Brazil, Italy, Egypt and the United States with the top two teams from each section qualifying for the semi-finals.


Azzurri assistant coach Narciso Pezotti opted to take the positives out of the draw, despite being pooled in the tougher of the two groups, saying that the world champions will use the opportunity in their favour.

"I think at this stage, it's going to be particularly difficult taking into account the quality of the teams that we will be facing," Marcello Lippi's number two said.

"However, we at the same time are preparing our team for 2010. We will certainly be preparing our team for that time.

"Italy is also going through a renewal period and it will be a very useful experience for our young players, to mature them for the World Cup as well."

United States boss Bob Bradley was also cautious, but admitted that whatever game-time available to his team would be wholly welcome.

"Yes, it's a very strong group," he said. "We know that we will be tested a great deal, but we are excited about the prospect of playing against these great teams and coming to the Confederations Cup.

"Our schedule for qualifying in CONCACAF is very busy, so we are in a difficult position because will play qualifiers prior to arriving in South Africa, but we will still consider options.

"We had a great experience here last year in the Nelson Mandela Challenge and we look forward to returning here, not only for the Confederations Cup, but also the World Cup."

On the other hand, Egypt's coach Hassan Shehata was not at all daunted, saying that his team will be targeting a place in the semi-final.

He said: "I am pleased with the draw even though we know that we will be playing very strong teams especially Brazil and Italy. It will give us a lot more experience of playing against top teams and I am very confident going to play this tournament.

"As I said before, we have really played well previously on the African continent and I am confident also that we are going to play our best, especially because there are going to be strong teams in the group.

"But we will do our best to represent the African continent. Our target is to reach the semi-final."

The Pharaohs open their account against Brazil, while the second match in the group will see the Italians take on the US.