It is no easy task choosing a favourite in the most wide-open section of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009. United Arab Emirates are the only member of the quartet to have qualified by winning their continental championship, though that is unlikely to unsettle their three rivals.
After surprising everyone at last year's UEFA U-19 European Championship, an attractive Hungary side are looking to rekindle memories of the country's glorious past, while South Africa boast one of the potential stars of the tournament in striker Kermit Erasmus. Last but not least, largely unknown Honduras have the incentive of advancing from the group stage for the first time and returning home heroes.
The matches (all kick-offs in local time)
United Arab Emirates - South Africa, 27 September, Alexandria, 18:45
Honduras - Hungary, 27 September, Alexandria, 21:30
Hungary - South Africa, 30 September, Alexandria, 18:45
United Arab Emirates - Honduras, 30 September, Alexandria, 21:30
Hungary - United Arab Emirates, 3 October, Alexandria, 18:45
South Africa - Honduras, 3 October, Port Said, 18:45
How they qualified
United Arab Emirates: Winners of the AFC U-19 Championship Saudi Arabia 2008.
South Africa: Semi-finalists at the CAF African Youth Championship Rwanda 2009.
Honduras: Third place at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Trinidad and Tobago 2009.
Hungary: Semi-finalists at the UEFA U-19 European Championship Czech Republic 2008.
Widely known as The Pearl of the Mediterranean, the port city of Alexandria is a perfect base camp for the four teams. Founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, Egypt's second city is without a doubt one of the country's most beautiful and historically important attractions and has long been considered the main gateway between Europe and Africa.
Alexandria is also a passionate footballing town and is home to three clubs, Olympic, Toram and Al-Ittihad. Five of the six group matches will be played at Al-Ittihad's home ground, the 20,000-capacity Alexandria Stadium, which was built in 1929 and is the oldest football ground in the country. The other game in the group, between South Africa and Honduras on the final matchday, will be played in Port Said.
The crunch match: Hungary-United Arab Emirates, Alexandria, 3 October, 18:45
This enticing encounter between the revelations of the last European Championship and the reigning Asian champions should have a major bearing on the outcome of the pool.
The Hungarians took everyone by surprise in the Czech Republic, boosting their confidence and international standing by defeating Spain in the group phase and running Germany and Italy close. And in Vlagyimir Koman and Krisztian Nemeth, they possess a strike pairing with the skills to worry any defence.
Having conquered Asia, the objective now facing Mahdi Ali Hassan's young UAE side is to match the achievement of the class of 1997 in reaching the last 16. Their ability to deal with Koman and Nemeth will go a long way to deciding if they can do just that.
The two countries have met twice in friendlies at full international level, the Magyars winning on both occasions: 3-0 in 1990 and 3-1 six years later.
The opening gambit
"We are full of hope and confidence and we are determined to make history at this U-20 World Cup." Mario Martinez, Honduras midfielder.