Having both suffered losses in their opening matches, Haiti and France prepare to face off in the knowledge that nothing less than a win will do if they are to stay in control of their own destiny and retain hopes of qualification. Despite their setback against Japan, the Caribbeans gave a good account of themselves and the 3-1 scoreline barely did justice to their plucky performance. As for France, two costly defensive errors gifted Nigeria a 2-1 victory, so les Bleuets will have to be in less generous mood when they take on their distant cousins.
The ties between France and Haiti run far deeper than football. In fact, the Caribbean nation is a former French colony, making this showdown something of a family affair. This meeting is therefore a chance for Haiti to show their elder siblings that they can stand on their own two feet in a major footballing competition. Nevertheless, once the whistle blows for kick-off, any sentiment will give way to a simple harsh reality: the losers of this fixture can wave goodbye to their hopes of qualifying for the Round of 16.
Despite their punishing opening matches played three days earlier, both Jean Yves Labaze and his French counterpart Francois Blaquart have a full complement of players from which to choose.
Although France and Haiti have enjoyed extremely close relations down the centuries, the nations have never faced each other on a football pitch. France fans will take heart from the fact that, in each of their previous two FIFA U-17 World Cup campaigns, les Bleuets have shone during the second group match, thrashing Australia 4-1 in 1987 and outmuscling the USA in a 5-3 goal fest in 2001. On each occasion, a hat trick powered them to victory (Michael Debeve in 1987 and Florent Sinama-Pongolle in 2001).
"Given the historical ties between the two countries, it's a bit like pitting father against son. It's also a bit like David against Goliath, and we all know how that story ended. We're a young footballing nation, but winning has nothing to do with age." Jean Yves Labaze, Haiti head coach
"I wouldn't say that we can't afford to make any mistakes, but we just can't afford another 'major' slip-up. Haiti are just like part of the family and they deserve plenty of credit for getting this far. Nevertheless, what matters most is getting all three points." Francois Blaquart, France head coach