THE DAY REPLAYED - Long-range and last-gasp goals decorated the action on a day when England overcame Brazil 2-1 to finish first in Group B and Peru beat Costa Rica 1-0 to make top spot in Group A their own. Nevertheless, the already-qualified Seleção and the Ticos will join their matchday seven conquerors in the Round of 16.
With four best third-placed teams from the six pools also progressing to the knockout stage, Korea Republic and Korea DPR kept their side of the bargain by beating Togo 2-1 and New Zealand 1-0 respectively. The Korean pair now face anxious waits to see if they have done enough to join the elite. This will be determined over the next two days and with four points to their name, one more than the tournament hosts, An Ye Gun's are in the better position to advance.
Brazil are renowned for scoring wonder goals and their current U-17 side have certainly maintained this reputation on Korean turf. With 19 minutes gone against the Three Lions, Tales added another to his country's stunning collection.
When he ran up to take a free-kick 40 yards from goal, with the penalty area awash with players jostling for position, nobody expected him to shoot directly. Perhaps Ronaldinho's unforgettable effort past David Seaman and England during the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ should have served as warning, because that is exactly what the Internacional midfielder did. Combining velocity and curl, Tales' set piece special nestled in the top right-corner of Alex Smithies' net.
The Seleção almost produced an act to rival Tales' strike in the goal of the tournament stakes, but after Lulinha had sublimely flicked a sweeping move into the path of the onrushing Fabio, the left-wingback was unable to find the target when well-placed.
While spectacular goals may have been easier on the eye, it was late goals that proved the more decisive as two pools reached their conclusions. With Brazil on the cusp of sealing pole position in Group B, England captain Jordan Spence struck deep into injury time to send his side through as section winners. Consequently, John Peacock's charges will face one of the four best third-placed teams in the Round of 16, while Lucho Nizzo's boys will meet a runner-up.
A late goal also settled the group's remaining game, with Korea DPR finally finding the breakthrough in the 81st minute to leave New Zealand, who said farewell to the competition with an exciting performance, pointless from three matches. Rim Chol Min once again emerged as the hero of the day for the Koreans, rising from the bench to score a decisive, late goal just as he did to deny England all three points in their curtain raiser.
Bouyed on by the unmistable roar of their fans, Korea Republic eked out victory from the latter stages of their encounter with Togo. After Seol Jae Mun's goal on the stroke of half-time had cancelled out Atakora's opener, Park Kyung Hoon's young soldiers charged forward relentlessly in search of a winner against their brave African opponents, who were reduced to ten men in the 71st minute. Ten minutes from time they found one, Yoon Bitgaram's cool, guided finish sending the home supporters at the Ulsan Complex Stadium wild.
This result meant that Peru and Costa Rica were assured of their places in the last 16, but with bragging rights up for grabs - and a meeting with the eventual runner-up in Group C to avoid - Carlos Bazalar poked home the deadlock-breaker in the last minute to clinch top spot for the South Americans.