Trident stake their claim

THE DAY REPLAYED - Tunisia and Colombia have never pocketed a medal at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, while Germany have not achieved the distinction since claiming silver at the inaugural finals in 1985. If the trident's stirring victories today are a hint of what is to come, this could be set to change on 9 September.

Tunisia beat USA 3-1 to sprint into the Round of 16, while Germany and Colombia, who shared six goals in their opener, both recorded uplifting wins. The South Americans were in rampant form in Cheonan, putting five unanswered goals past Trinidad and Tobago to leave themselves on the cusp of a place in the knockout stages. For their part, Germany edged a five-goal thriller against two-time champions Ghana to move to within touching distance of joining Brazil, Spain, Nigeria and Tunisia in the ensuing phase.

There was high drama in Changwon. With the referee's whistle just moments from concluding a goalless meeting between Tajikistan and Belgium, substitute Christian Benteke struck a last-gasp winner, which left the rivals level on three points behind Group E leaders Tunisia.

Rewriting the record books
When Tunisia first took to the world U-17 stage they lost their first two matches, which sealed their early return home from Asia. Fourteen years on from their solitary participation in the tournament, the Eaglets have done exactly the opposite, taking maximum points from two outings to cruise into the Round of 16.

The star of their latest success was Nour Hadhria, whose imaginative playmaking and two first half penalties inspired a 3-1 reverse of USA, who must beat Belgium in their final Group E exertion to stand any chance of progressing. In order to do so, John Hackworth's side need to turn the chances yearned by their fast-paced, counter-attacking football, which flows stylishly through the boots of Jared Jeffrey and Alex Nimo, into goals.

Despite being heavyweights on the senior stage, Germany do not boast the most impressive of records in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. However, their class of 2007 have the potential to right this wrong, as evidenced by their hard-fought 3-2 win over two-time champions Ghana today.

Cheonan may be known as the 'City of Heavenly Peace', yet there was anything but calm as Germany and Ghana treated supporters at the Sports Complex to a riveting exhibition of football. It was certainly a game of two halves, the Europeans racing into a three-goal lead before their African opponents' second half fightback ensured a nail-biting finish.

Colombia's initial two forays into the FIFA U-17 World Cup ended in first round elimination, before an encouraging fourth place finish at Finland 2003. Now Eduardo Lara's charges are determined to go one better, and after witnessing them overwhelm a brave Trinidad and Tobago side it is impossible to rule them out.

Stars of the day
It is so easy to see why Bayern Munich rate Toni Kroos so highly. Within 30 minutes against Ghana, the majestic playmaker had netted twice to inspire Germany into a 3-0 lead. But if Kroos ran the game during the first half, it was Abeiku Quansah who illuminated the second. Picking the ball up deep inside his own half, the Ghanaian winger sprinted all the way to the opposition penalty area, evading four challenges along the way, to tee-up Ransford Osei, who made it 3-1.

One minute later, Quansah had a hand in setting up Sadick Adams' goal, and although his spellbinding footwork continued to torment the Germans, he was unable to help the Black Starlets grab a share of the spoils.

Two-goal Andres Felipe Mosquera and Santiago Trellez, who was also on target, were in resplendent form for Colombia, as was Tunisia's Nour Hadria, while Eden Hazard's eye-catching skills brought back memories of Enzo Scifo's brilliance in the red of Belgium.