Thursday 30 August at the Cheonan Sports Complex will see the eagerly awaited Round of 16 clash between Germany and the USA. The teams fared very differently during the group stage, but the counters are now set to zero again as the knockout phase begins.
Heiko Herrlich's German U-17 team will be going into the match full of confidence, having finished top of a very tough Group F and played some excellent attacking football along the way. Toni Kroos and Co. will now be looking to reach the quarter-finals of a FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time since 1997. The USA, on the other hand, lost their opening two matches and only scraped through on the last day with a 2-0 win over Belgium. This victory will nevertheless have lifted their morale ahead of the knockout rounds.
Although Germany centre-forward Richard Sukuta-Pasu suffered a cut along the shin against Trinidad and Tobago as well as bruising and had to be taken off, he should be fit for the USA clash. Defender Konstantin Rausch has sat out his one-match ban and will be available again. For the Americans, attacker Billy Schuler will be forced to watch from the stands after picking up his second yellow card of the group stage against Belgium.
This will be the first match involving these teams at a FIFA U-17 World Cup. The first time the two countries met competitively was at the 1972 Olympic Football Tournament when Germany cantered to a 7-0 victory. At the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, Germany again won, 1-0 on this occasion in the quarter-final in Ulsan. The only American win to date was a 2-0 success at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. At the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the teams have met on three occasions, Germany winning twice (2-1 at Chile 1987 and 3-1 at UAE 2003) with the other match finishing 0-0 at Netherlands 2005.
"About a month ago, on 20 July, we lost 3-1 to the USA in a warm-up match. The Americans also qualified out of a tough group with Belgium, Tajikistan and Tunisia, so we know what we'll be up against. But we've had a good tournament so far and can have every confidence heading into the Round of 16. Our aim now is obviously to keep the upper hand and make it into the quarter-final." Heiko Herrlich, Germany coach
"We have achieved our first goal, which was making it through the group stage, and we certainly did it the hard way. It proved the character of my team and now we need to believe in ourselves and play the kind of football we know we can." John Hackworth, USA coach