Revenge for US, relief for Korea DPR
The fight for the coveted U-20 women's world crown is now a straight battle between Asia and the Americas after Sunday saw the completion of the semi-final line-up at Russia 2006.
The action now moves on to Moscow's Lokomotiv stadium on Thursday, when Brazil take on Korea DPR and China PR face off against USA for a place in the grand final.
The much-vaunted European challenge, meanwhile, has ground to a halt, with the defending champions ousted at the quarter-final stage along with the continent's number two team.
USA finally savoured the sweet taste of revenge after a two-year wait when they defeated Germany at the Petrovsky Stadium to avenge a painful semi-final reverse at Thailand 2004 and send the holders packing.
Earlier, in the day's first game, Korea DPR followed the example set by upcoming opponents Brazil against Nigeria on Saturday and put paid to French hopes with a dramatic winner from a set-piece in stoppage time. What price either side repeating this trick in their semi-final clash?
Kim points the way
On a dramatic afternoon in St Petersburg, France saw their hopes ended by a sublime piece of skill from Kim Kyong Hwa and a heart-breaking injury-time strike from Hong Myong Gum.
Mindful of the threat posed by Kim and the equally inventive Kim Chun Hui, France coach Stephane Pilard decided to bolster his midfield, which made for an absorbing tactical battle.
Spurred by their noisy band of red-shirted, flag-waving supporters , many of whom had made the 600-kilometre journey from Moscow to cheer on their compatriots, the Koreans started brightly, only for the French to carve out some chances of their own in a closely-contested first half.
The deadlock was broken immediately after the re-start, however, when the prodigiously talented Kim produced a sizzling left-foot strike from 25 yards.
Undeterred, Les Bleuettes stuck to their task and were rewarded 15 minutes later when Marie-Laurie Delie dispossessed a Korean defender before feeding the ball to the unmarked Elodie Thomis , whose ferocious angled drive evaded Jon Myung Hui's despairing dive.
Stunned at conceding their first goal of the tournament, the Asian challengers suddenly found themselves on the back foot, and they could have been in even worse trouble had Delie not shot weakly when well placed. However, just as extra-time was looming large, and with the French looking the stronger, Korean captain Hong Myong Gum wriggled free from her markers to head past Sarah Bouhaddi from a corner and send the Russian branch of the Korea DPR fan club into ecstasy.
US show holders the door
After the excitement of the Korean late show, the battle of the two heavyweights of the women's game got off to a predictably tense start, with both sides adopting a tentative approach.
However, with Player of the Match Amanda Poach causing problems down the right flank, USA gradually began to take control and promptly went ahead when Kelley O'Hara fired a pinpoint Poach cross emphatically past Romina Holz.
The inspired Poach was at it again just seconds later as she crossed for Danesha Adams to head into the top corner.
Lydia Neumann cut the deficit midway through the second half from an incisive through pass from Simone Laudehr, but no sooner had German hopes been raised than they were snuffed out when Tina di Martino set up Adams for her second of the evening at the climax of a lightning break. The icing was applied to the cake when Amy Rodriguez broke her tournament duck in the last minute when she broke through from midfield and clipped the ball past Holz at the second time of asking to complete the scoring.
At the end of it all the jubilant American supporters, most of them family members who have travelled over from the States to support their girls, celebrated with a mini-Mexican wave, one that Tim Schulz and his side will be hoping to ride all the way to the final when they meet China on Thursday.