Reigning European champions and World Cup favourites Spain have been handed a low-key opening to the tournament, facing first Switzerland then Honduras and Chile in Group H, as they begin what could be a tough route to the final.
Initially though it is Chile that are likely to offer the most resistance after impressing throughout the South American qualification campaign, beating Argentina and Paraguay to finish second behind Brazil.
After the famed Chilean team of 1998, which for the first time got through to the second round of a World Cup, began to disband with the retirement of Ivan Zamorano, Clarence Acuna and others, a new generation have begun to emerge after a decade of under-achievement.
Their defence lacks great experience, although 21-year-old Mauricio Isla has been a feature in the Udinese side for three years, and their most capped midfielder plays in the UAE league, but they have great talent and work well as a unit.
Playmaker Matias Fernandez has made an impact at Sporting Lisbon this season, the versatile Arturo Vidal continues to impress for Bayer Leverkusen, while in attack they have an abundance of pace in Mark Gonzalez, skill with Alexis Sanchez and their top scorer in qualifying Humberto Suazo.
Honduras can't boast as much youth or talent as Chile but they do have the experience their Group H rivals lack, most notably in midfield where four players have over 50 caps, including linchpin Wilson Palacios and their captain Amado Guevara, who has played well over 100 times for his country.
They also have pedigree in the right places and options in attack where Julio Cesar de Leon is explosive, Carlos Pavon is a poacher and Inter Milan's David Suazo has proven himself as one of the best strikers in Serie A.
Depending on how well Spain cope with the broader talents of the South and Central American teams, Switzerland could pose a biggest problem to their hopes of a smooth progression to the second round.
They proved their ability to frustrate better teams in the last World Cup, when a 0-0 draw with France in the group stage saw them finish top and enjoy the easier second round tie.
The same plan of containment and counter-attack will be employed, with Alexander Frei still a genuine threat.
Even with their best laid plans in full force, the Swiss won't hope to compete with Spain if they bring their best football to the tournament.
They have talent throughout their side, even if their defence can appear small and light at times, to back up the clinical pairing of David Villa and Fernando Torres, along with a midfield that could prove to be of World Cup-winning calibre.