Africaâ€™s hopes of getting of all of its six representatives through to the knockout phase of next yearâ€™s World Cup looks a tough ask after the draw.
The first World Cup in Africa is a real chance to better its previous best of two quarter-final appearances.
But Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and hosts South Africa are all in danger of early elimination.
Cameroon and Ivory Coast are seen as the best bets for an African side to make it into the second round.
But both countries must get through opening groups with two established sides up against them as they were draw to play Holland, Denmark and Japan on Friday.
â€œI suppose Denmark and Japan are clearly not as competitive as the Dutch but they all have potential and worth,â€ said Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen after being drawn in Group E.
Ghana, who were the only African side to get past the first stage in Germany in 2006, were placed in another difficult group, with the Germans, Serbia and Australia.
Nigeria, who only qualified on a dramatic last day of the African qualifiers in November, face Argentina, Greece and South Korea in Group B.
â€œI know itâ€™s not going to be an easy group,â€ said their beleaguered coach Shaibu Amodu, whose continued tenure is in doubt after a far from convincing qualifying campaign.
â€œThe key for us will be to have proper preparation.â€
Algeria and South Africa are in even more difficult sections.
The hosts drew former winners France and Uruguay plus Mexico, who they play in the opening game at Johannesburgâ€™s Soccer City on 11 June. Algeria are in Englandâ€™s group, which raised a fan-like smile on coach Rabah Saadaneâ€™s face.
â€œIt is a great honour to play against a country like that,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s our first match against them in a competitive match and to come up against a great coach like Fabio Capello is another honour.â€