Colombia were a mere six minutes away from finishing second in
their group and having to face Brazil in the Round of 16. A goal
from Ghana in the 84
th minute of the final match changed the deal, however,
pushing the South Americans down to third in Group F and thus
meaning they avoid the
Auriverde. But it may well be a case of out of the frying
pan, into the fire for the
Cafeteros, as they will face Nigeria, who strolled through
the group stage and are now among the favourites for the title.
Both teams are renowned for their physical presence on the pitch,
so the Soccer Only Field at Gwangyang should witness an epic
Nigeria - Colombia, Gwangyang, 30 August, 17:00 (local time)
Current African champions Nigeria journeyed to Korea with one objective in mind - lifting the trophy on 9 September. Yemi Tella's men certainly backed up these lofty ambitions right from the off, beating France, Japan and Haiti. Colombia on the other hand will be satisfied with a semi-final berth. When they managed to come from 3-1 behind to snatch a draw against Germany, Eduardo Lara's troops showed that they can move mountains when they put their minds to it. This is now the knock-out stage, however, and only one team can go through, so someone will be taking an early flight home.
As befits a match of this stature, there are no injuries or suspensions affecting either side and both teams will have full squads to choose from.
The only previous time the two countries met in a FIFA competition, none of the players present here in Korea were born. At the Olympic football tournament in 1980, Colombia squeezed home 1-0 against their African opponents.
On a less positive note for the Cafeteros, Nigeria have already won all three of their group matches in the past on two occasions, in 1993 and 2001. Both times, the Golden Eaglets went on to reach the Final... The Nigerians will have to be extra vigilant between the 60 th and 70 th minutes of the match, since that is when Colombia have scored five of their nine goals at the tournament so far.
"The coach keeps telling us that we are the best youngsters Nigeria have ever had and I agree with him. It's a real joy to be part of this team. We've got what it takes to win this tournament and we all have that winning mentality." Macauley Chrisantus,Nigeriaforward
"Nigeria will be a tough opponent. We know their reputation in this age group, but this match starts at 0-0. Whichever team makes a mistake will be heading home." Eduardo Lara,Colombiacoach