In-form duo face off in semis
© Foto-net

Thursday's semi-final in Suwon sees Nigeria, who have won all five of their games at Korea 2007, take on Germany, themselves with four straight wins after drawing their opening game. Though both teams are in exceptional form, for one Thursday's meeting will mean the end of their world title aspirations, and for the other a berth in Sunday's Final in Seoul.

The game
Nigeria - Germany, Suwon, Thursday 6 September, 19:00 (local time)

The stakes
Nigeria have scored 13 goals and conceded just three in their five games to date - a measure of how much they have dominated their opponents. Leading the line for the the Africans have been Macauley Chrisantus, currently tournament top-scorer on six strikes, and super-sub Sheriff Isa. Also instrumental has been skipper Lukman Haruna, who has caught the eye with his ability to control the pace of games. After eliminating a strongly-fancied Argentina side 2-0 in the quarters, the Golden Eaglets are confident they can deal with Germany and move a step closer to securing the trophy.

Germany are sure to provide tough opposition, as their record of 17 goals scored and only 7 conceded suggests. The Europeans were particularly impressive in the second half of their quarter-final rout of England, scoring four goals and confounding those who had predicted a very tight contest (4-1). That victory owed much to the performances of Richard Sukuta-Pasu, Toni Kroos and Dennis Dowidat, and should Heiko Herrlich's charges dominate midfield again in their semi-final, their opponents could be in for a very tough night.

The players
Nigeria have no injury woes but captain Lukman Haruna, keeper Laide Okanlawon and midfielder Kabiru Akinsola would all miss their next game with a yellow card on Thursday. Over in the German camp, skipper Toni Kroos and midfielder Dennis Dowidat are in the same boat and will also need to tread carefully in Suwon.

The past
All told, Nigeria and Germany have met six times at different levels, with Germany holding a small advantage with three wins, one draw and two defeats. In a friendly between the two senior sides held in Koln in April 1998, the Europeans came out on top 1-0.

This is their second meeting between the countries at a FIFA U-17 World Cup. Their first came at the inaugural tournament in China in 1985, when Nigeria downed West Germany 2-0 to take the title in front of 80,000 fans in Beijing.

The words
"Everything's going according to plan. From our preparation, we know that Germany maintain a very high level of performance. All the teams in this tournament have been strong, but the Germans have been particularly impressive in terms of teamwork. That said, our side is strong in every respect and even if we had a weakness, I wouldn't be telling you. One thing I'm certain of is that we'll win on Thursday." Yemi Tella,NigeriaCoach

"We have no weaknesses in our team. Germany's defence is strong but we'll make sure we score and win." Macauley Chrisantus,Nigeriastriker

"Nigeria is a very physical and skillful team. As African Cup winners they had a tough qualifying and will be a strong opponent in the semi-finals. We - as fifth of the European Championships - are the underdogs, that's obvious. But we did well in the tournament up to now and my players will do everything to make it to the final. It will be a very interesting match." Heiko Herrlich, Germany coach