Germany have almost achieved their first goal at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007, namely getting through to the Round of 16. In their final Group F match in Changwon on Sunday against Trinidad and Tobago, a draw will be enough to see them through to the knockout stage.
Heiko Herrlich's youngsters want more than just a share of the points, however. Due to their inferior goal difference, Germany are currently behind Colombia in second place. The South Americans face a tough final match against Ghana though, meaning that a good win for the Europeans against T&T should be enough to see Germany through as group winners. Germany would thus avoid playing favourites Brazil in the next round, the "reward" for the team finishing second.
Germany's task is clear, therefore. "We want to win, make sure of our place in the next round and hopefully end up top of the group," outlined Herrlich, who will no doubt rotate his squad for the match. Defender Konstantin Rausch is suspended after being sent off for two bookable offences against Ghana, while six other players are all on one yellow card already and thus under the threat of a one-match ban if they pick up another caution against Trinidad.
In terms of injuries, however, things are looking more positive. Centre-forward Richard Sukuta-Pasu, who had to be taken off during the Ghana match after suffering a bruised shin bone, is fit for Sunday's match. Captain Toni Kroos, two goals to his name already, took a knock to his calf in the last match but will be available for selection. The signs all point to Germany finishing off a successful group phase with a win on Sunday therefore.
Playmaker Kroos' importance to the team was underlined against Ghana. The captain put in his second dominant performance in midfield in as many matches after his impressive display in the opener against Colombia. The Bayern Munich prodigy is not the only German youngster to have caught the eye thus far at the FIFA U-17 World Cup however. Wingers Dennis Dowidat and Sascha Bigalke have also impressed.
"What we've got is a really good team spirit," enthused Bigalke. "You could see that when we were down to ten men against Ghana and held onto our lead. We looked good up front and fought hard at the back, and we want to do the same in the third group match to qualify for the Round of 16 as group winner."