Group F was always likely to be a closely fought affair, and that certainly proved to be the case. All sorts of scenarios were possible right up until the final round of games, and in the end it was not only Hungary, who took their chances when they had to, and Asian champions United Arab Emirates who got through to the knock-out stage but also South Africa who slipped through as one of the best third placed teams. Honduras were the only country to miss out, despite winning their opening match against the eventual group winners.
Ghana-South Africa, Tuesday 6 October, Ismailia, 16:30 (local time)
Hungary-Czech Republic, Tuesday 6 October, Alexandria, 20:00 (local time)
Venezuela-UAE, Wednesday 7 October, Suez, 16:30 (local time)
The tale of the teams
Hungary: Who would have thought that the mini-Magyars would end up top of the group after crashing to a 3-0 defeat against Honduras in their opening match? Not even the players themselves, as they later admitted. Hungary got better as the group stages wore on however, were well organised out on the park and showed real team spirit, making them one of the teams to watch in the Round of 16.
UAE: A team with all the talent in the world but not always the discipline to back it up, as was very much the case in their 2-0 defeat to Hungary. They will have to be a lot more solid against Venezuela if they are not to be packing their bags in a few days time.
South Africa: Most pundits seem to agree that all Kermit Erasmus and his team-mates were lacking in the group stages was a little bit of luck. Despite not getting the run of the ball, they still managed to scrape through into the knock-out stage which was just reward for their efforts. They too however will have to work on their lack of discipline, committing no fewer that 60 fouls in the competition, resulting in nine yellow and two red cards.
Honduras: The Central Americans must be kicking themselves after seeing UAE get through to the next round with a goal difference of -1 and South Africa with -2. After thrashing Hungary 3-0 in their opening match it looked as if Honduras already had one foot in the knockout stages, but either the opposition got better or the CONCACAF representatives ran out of steam, and their only consolation was that they ended up the best of the last-placed teams in the group stage...
Moments to savour
Grabbing qualification from the jaws of defeat: When UAE go out to play their Round of 16 match, they will no doubt still be thinking of how they managed to pull off a miraculous escape act in their opening match. With the regulation 90 minutes having expired, they found themselves 2-0 down to South Africa before a Hamdan Al Kamali penalty in the 91st minute gave them hope and a Theyab Awana equaliser in the 93rd minute snatched a point.
Amajita beat: Serame Letsoaka's squad certainly grabbed people's attention during the group stage, primarily for what went on before the matches actually started. It would take a fitness coach to determine whether the South Africans' dances during their warm-ups had any beneficial effect on the players, but they certainly put a smile on the faces of all who watched them.
Super Mario: Honduras may have bowed out of the tournament at the first hurdle but they certainly played an entertaining brand of football, none more so than Mario Martinez. The left-footed midfield maestro bagged a brace against Hungary and looked dangerous every time he touched the ball. He currently plies his trade in Norway but it would not be a surprise to see him in a more prestigious league at some point in the near future.
Hungary on the attack: The Magyars came to the tournament with a reputation for being strong in defence and relying on Krisztian Nemeth, and then along came strikers Andras Simon and Marko Futacs to light a fire under the team. With midfielders Vladimir Koman, Roland Varga and Andras Gosztonyi all capable of running at opposition defences, Hungary certainly were exciting to watch.
The numbers game
16 - The number of goals scored in the six Group F matches at an average of 2.67 per game - the lowest at Egypt 2009.
The closing remarks
"This competition is nothing like any other tournament we have been involved in before. Playing on the world stage is really something else. We saw in our group that there are no weak teams when you qualify for a World Cup, which makes it even more satisfying that we made it through the first round," Mahdi Redha, UAE coach