Brazil pushed all the way by Korea DPR (3:1)
Despite their superior pedigree at this level, Brazil had to dig deep to ultimately see off Korea DPR in their quarter-final clash at the FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005. Often dominated during an intriguing match in Iquitos, the South Americans came through thanks to some merciless finishing, while their opponents suffered from naivety at the back and were unable to convert a whole raft of good chances. The Koreans nonetheless leave the competition with their heads held high, whereas Brazil can now look forward to facing Turkey in the last four.
"It was a very tough game played at a high tempo. The Koreans are remarkable athletes," explained a relieved Nelson Rodrigues after the final whistle. "The first half was especially difficult, but we were able to get ourselves back into the match. Today didn't have a lot to do with tactics, it was all about heart and 'fighting-spirit'."
On paper, it looked as if there would be no contest at all, with the Koreans still feeling their way in their first ever FIFA U-17 World Championship, and the country's only footballing achievement the quarter-final place attained by the senior side at the 1966 FIFA World Cup™. Awaiting these rank amateurs were the formidable Seleçao, enjoying their tenth appearance in this tournament, having won it three times already and boasting a record against Asian U-17 sides of six victories and three draws.
The only problem with that prediction was that the Koreans clearly fear no one. And, as humidity hang in the Iquitos air, it was they who began the match the strongest, with Chol Myong Ri firing in an early effort from 20 metres out that skimmed just past Felipe's goal (5'). Unperturbed, he created fresh danger moments later after being sent clear by Hung Ryong Ri, this time forcing Felipe into making a save (12').
Naturally, the Auriverde had been far from invisible since the start, and, finding himself unmarked 40 metres from goal, Anderson attempted an ambitious lob that sailed harmlessly wide (16').
The remainder of the half was an even affair, with both sides at pains not to leave spaces at the back, but that was all about to change after the interval. The Koreans pushed forward right from the kick-off, and Hung Ryong Ri set the tone with a fierce shot that Felipe just managed to keep out (47'). The Canarinhos showed all their experience on the counter-attack, though, as Anderson slipped free on the left and cut back a gilt-edged pass to Ramon in the middle. The rest was straightforward, and it resulted in Ramon's fourth strike of the tournament (1:0, 48').
Just as the match was taking off, however, Renato collapsed in the centre of the pitch and had to be taken to hospital. Perhaps understandably, little happened for the next ten minutes until Kim gave a display of his talent on the right and angled a cross towards the near post. Chol Min Pak leapt to meet it, brought it down, swivelled and buried his shot into the net, only for referee Alain Hamer to whistle for handball (68').
It was going to take more than that to dent the Asian side's belief, though, and Kim soon had Brazil in trouble as he led a lightning-quick break towards their goal. Embarrassing the entire defence with his movement, he then received the ball back from the wings and tried to work himself into a shooting position. He was unable to, but the ball cannoned around viciously in the area before the Aurivderde somehow cleared it to safety (72'). Their relief was nonetheless short-lived, and Korea DPR's efforts were finally rewarded when Myong Ho Choe whipped in a free-kick from the right that fell to Kim six metres out. Totally unmarked, the Rimyongsu striker calmly fired in the equaliser (1:1, 82').
That forced the game into extra-time, when the Koreans were once again the most creative team on show. But Brazil had clinical finishing on their side, and they went back into the lead following a clever one-two on the edge of the area between Ronaldinho clone Celso and Mauricio. Back from suspension after missing the last two matches, Celso collected the ball from his colleague and rifled a shot into the far corner (2:1, 97').
Korea DPR were struggling with exhaustion by this point, but they continued to surge forward at every opportunity. As a result, they left themselves vulnerable to counter-attacks, and they were eventually made to pay when Igor finished off a move from Ramon (3 :1, 120'), thus guaranteeing his side a place in the semi-finals against Turkey in Trujillo on 29 September.
Despite the outcome, Tong Sop Jo was determined to focus on the positives after the match: "I think we played a great game, so I'm not disappointed. I could see a lot of confidence in the eyes of my boys and we proved we can play against the very best teams. Technically, we could have won it, but we were tired at the end which led to us making some fatal errors."