Cardiff & Swansea - taking Wales into the Premier League?
At the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Wales national football team might be as far away as always from qualifying for a major tournament but, in other respects, Welsh football is in rude health.
Gareth Bale is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of the world's most talented players, while both Cardiff and Swansea look equipped to end Wales's long wait for a club to reach the Premier League.
The two rivals met at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday for what many had described as one of the most anticipated south Wales derbies in recent history.
Swans boss Brendan Rodgers said that the build-up during the preceding week had brought to mind a Champions League final, while Cardiff skipper Craig Bellamy claimed that with both teams in top form everyone should look forward a "treat".
The hype was easy to understand as the Bluebirds led the Championship table going into the weekend, and the Swans were none too shabby themselves, two places below their rivals.
Cardiff had triumphed in their previous five fixtures, scoring 14 goals in the process, while Swansea had won four and drawn two of their previous six league matches. Perhaps more impressively, the Swans had not conceded a league goal since their 3-2 win at Watford on 28 September - a total of 455 minutes.
Craig Bellmany (right) is desperate for Cardiff to play in the Premier League [Getty Images]
It all hinted at an exciting and atmospheric encounter, but ultimately it was an afternoon that belonged to Swansea, who went in as underdogs but won 1-0 to firmly underline their promotion credentials.
Speaking to the press afterwards, Cardiff boss Dave Jones maintained that it had been a tight encounter, with very little to separate the two teams. Several times he came back to the individual error made by defender Gabor Gyepes, who had allowed Marvin Emnes to turn on the edge of the box before striking home from 20 yards for the only goal of the game.
Rodgers felt that his team thoroughly deserved their victory - and I find it difficult to disagree with the Ulsterman's analysis.
"Our idea is always to control and dominate the game and the courage the players showed to do that at Cardiff was incredible," said the 37-year-old Rodgers, whose own playing career was ended by injury at the age of 20.
"Going forward our invention and use of space was fantastic. It gives us confidence. I said to the players after the match that if they did not believe before that they can compete with anyone, then they surely must now."
There is a feeling on the Gower Peninsula that the Swans are not given the recognition they deserve for the attractive and intelligent brand of passing football they play.
Rodgers has apparently joked with his players that everyone coming to Wales stops in Cardiff but does not bother to travel any further. He expressed the hope that with Sunday's match broadcast live on BBC Two, Swansea's stylish game will have deservedly exposed to a wider audience.
Swansea normally line up in a 4-3-3 formation and look to dominate possession, as they did at Cardiff. Jones had a gentle dig at them when he suggested that Swansea's central defenders spend more time on the ball than any of their other players, but I thought Cardiff were outplayed.
Last season, with Paulo Sousa in charge, the Swans' play-off push ran out of steam, with the club finishing seventh and finding the net just 40 times in their 46 league games. But they look al ot more potent this campaign and created several good openings on Sunday.
They are content to knock the ball around in their own half until an opening appears but then they attack with pace and skill. The two wide attacking players of summer recruit Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer were extremely effective, while midfielder Andrea Orlandi impressed with his precise distribution. He played one particularly incisive pass midway through the first half that sent Dyer through on goal.
Mark Gower, a winger turned deep-sitting midfielder, was effective in his holding role, while 20-year-old Joe Allen showed that his side will not be bullied by squaring up to Michael Chopra in the final minutes.
I watched League One leaders Brighton on Tuesday and I thought Swansea were similar not only in their style of play but also the excellent understanding that the players have of the system they play and their roles within it.
Rodgers had been sacked from his previous role as Reading boss last December after just 21 games in charge. He had perhaps tried to change the style of play too quickly after succeeding Steve Coppell and the team were in the Championship relegation zone when he left.
But Rodgers, who counts Jose Mourinho as a close friend and is very highly rated as a coach, seems to be an excellent fit at Swansea, who have played a 4-3-3 system for several years.
"As a group we are very humble," added Rodgers. "You will not find us shouting about promotion. We have had a terrific start and I am delighted we won in front of the cameras but there are 31 games left and it is very important to be consistent in this league."
Bluebirds midfielder Peter Whittingham admitted recently that everyone in the squad thinks it is their year to finally win promotion.
It is easy to understand their confidence as they boast some incredible attacking weapons in Bellamy, Michael Chopra, Chris Burke, Jay Bothroyd and Whittingham. In recent weeks they have blown teams away, with their 4-0 win at Leeds on 25 October a real statement of intent.
However, Bothroyd was suspended on Sunday and, although he claimed during the week that Cardiff did not need him, I thought his absence was keenly felt. He is the fulcrum of the side and, just as Cardiff did not recover after he limped out of May's play-off final defeat by Blackpool, they do not look as effective without him.
Bothroyd is not only in good goalscoring form this season, with 12 goals already, but he links up play and is an excellent foil for the pacey players that surround him. Swansea were also without the influential Darren Pratley, but they did not seem to suffer as much from the absence of one of their key players.
Sunday's match was a rich contrast of styles, with Swansea dominating possession and Cardiff relying on swift counter-attacks. The home team's best opening came direct from a long kick by goalkeeper Tom Heaton that saw Bellamy elude the otherwise impressive Angel Rangel but fail to beat goalkeeper Dorus De Vries. Perhaps not surprisingly, Cardiff have an excellent record away from home, when the onus is on opposition teams to push forward.
Boss Jones did not sound overly concerned as he discussed the impact of the result. "It is not something that will come to define our season," he said. "If you lose a derby game it is like you have shot the Pope but if we lose both derby games and yet get out of the division, I think everyone would take that."
Swansea defender Garry Monk agreed, stating: "Cardiff have class all over the pitch and this result will not effect them much, they will be strong again."
Sunday was one of those days for Cardiff when nothing quite went right. They might have salvaged a point late on, but Bellamy scuffed his far-post header. He put his head in his hands in disbelief in a gesture that accurately summed up Cardiff's afternoon.
At the end of last season there was a mood of despondency hanging over both Cardiff and Swansea after their respective seasons ended in disappointment and I'm told that the expectations of supporters in both cities were relatively modest at the start of the current campaign.
Yet disillusion has quickly given way to a burgeoning belief and in its own curious way, Sunday was a celebration of a definite change of mood in south Wales.
And it might just be that the next time the two teams meet at the Cardiff City Stadium they are contesting a Premier League fixture.