D-day approaches Down Under
© Foto-net

As the final round of matches in the first two groups draws near, five teams remain in the hunt for three available slots in the New Zealand 2008 quarter-finals. Only Germany are assured of their place in the last eight, while Costa Rica and the hosts' ambitions have been thwarted, leaving Canada, Colombia and Denmark competing in Group A, and Korea DPR and Ghana jostling for position in Group B.

Match of the day
Germany-Korea DPR, 4 November, Hamilton (16.00 local time)

Two years ago, Germany arrived in Russia red-hot favourites to retain the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup only to be humbled by unfancied Korea DPR during the group stage. The rest, as they say, is history, with the North Koreans going on to clinch their first-ever world title in their inaugural appearance at the women's youth showpiece.

The odds on history repeating itself in the U-17 equivalent remain long, but the Asian champions could yet clinch top spot in Group B with victory over their European counterparts in Hamilton. The Germans certainly betrayed signs of weakness during the 3-2 win over Ghana on Saturday that sealed their place in the last eight, and with Korea DPR still looking over their shoulders at the Black Maidens, the prospect of an upset should not be written off.

Other matches
With the North Koreans still within striking distance, Ghana will attempt to rack up the goals against winless Costa Rica in Wellington and hope the already-qualified Germans continue their winning streak further north.

Later the same evening, three teams will compete for the two quarter-final berths still up for grabs in Group A. Only the luckless hosts are out of the running in what must surely be the most evenly-matched section at New Zealand 2008, although Paul Temple's side still have the incentive of becoming the first-ever Kiwi side to win a FIFA finals match when they take on Colombia in the capital.

The South American champions, who start the day two points behind Canada and Denmark, know that nothing short of victory will be enough to give them a chance of overhauling the group's joint-leaders, who meet in Hamilton. With Bryan Rosenfeld and Bent Eriksen both keen to avoid a quarter-final meeting with Group A leaders Germany, expect a tight, full-blooded affair at Waikato Stadium.

The stat
24,293
- the number of fans who clicked through the turnstiles to watch New Zealand's opening two matches in Auckland, creating a national record in the process. Now it's the turn of Wellington, the country's capital, to get behind the Young Football Ferns as they attempt to secure an historic win.

What they said
"Before each game, we sing our own songs just like New Zealand's rugby team performs the haka. It's our way of showing unity as a team," Pedro Rodriguez, Colombia coach.

All the fixtures
Hamilton
Germany-Korea DPR (16.00)
Canada-Denmark (19.00)

Wellington
Ghana-Costa Rica (16.00)
Colombia-New Zealand (19.00)