THE DAY REPLAYED - Nigeria made a laboured start to their campaign, but a great result in their final group encounter means the hosts are now living up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites. A 2-1 success over high-flying Argentina sent the boisterous Bauchi crowd into raptures and delivered an ominous message of intent. Elsewhere, European champions Germany beat Honduras 3-1 in Abuja to finish third in Group A on four points, slipping into the quarter-finals by the back door.
Group B served up the shock of the day, as the highly fancied Brazilians fell 1-0 to Switzerland. The Swiss turned in their third scintillating display so far to stroll into the quarters, but the South Americans' measly three points and third place may yet not be enough to keep them in west Africa. Mexico, who arrived for the FIFA U-17 World Cup backed by a good deal of the experts, promptly lost their opening match, but showed they had learned their lessons from the botched start with a 2-0 victory over Japan in Lagos that brimmed with promise for the rest of the competition.
Click on the links in the right-hand column for full reports of the day's matches.
Goal of the day
Japan-Mexico, Carlos Campos 65'
It wasn't merely the manner in which the young Mexican netted the winner, it was the wider context which made today's goal of the day a little bit special. Campos cut inside from the left, spotted the keeper a shade too far off his line, and planted a delicate curler into the top right corner. The player had already let off a sighter from an identical position in the first half, but the striker put his effort too near the Japan shot-stopper. So to the bigger picture: when it came, the goal entered the annals as the 1300th in the history of the FIFA U-17-World Cup.
The hosts played both their previous games in the capital Abuja, fighting back to take a point off the Germans and defeating Honduras in the cavernous surroundings of the National Stadium. The Super Eaglets switched to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi for game three, but those who thought the folk from a region dominated by agriculture and coal-mining might prove less enthusiastic in their support were in for a surprise. The vuvuzelas droned as loud as ever, but they were complemented throughout the 90 minutes by a choir numbering some 50 souls. The Nigerian players thanked their supporters at the end with a triumphant victory dance.
Not at all like the Germans (for a half)
Germany and efficiency are normally inseparable in the footballing world, but coach Marco Pezzaiouli's lads seemed determined to demolish the stereotype in the first half against Honduras, as they squandered chance after chance. However, it was business as usual after the break, Lennart Thy and Kevin Volland clinically netting three between them. Thy even struck a brace in the space of 30 seconds to effectively kill the game. Curiously, Nigeria and Argentina's goals against the Germans in their previous matches were also quick-fire affairs.
Tired and weary, still journey on...
After clocking up four and a half hours in the air and on the bus on the trip from Abuja to Bauchi, Nigeria and Argentina needed just five minutes to hit the target once apiece. The South Americans' early strike came from Esteban Orfano, one of only four players in the line-up who had also started the previous two matches. Here is a young man who has yet to discover the meaning of the word fatigue.
Just one of those days
Takashi Usami will be keen to erase the memory of this particular day as soon as he can. The Japan striker failed to convert no fewer than six gilt-edged chances against Mexico, ending up the unhappiest man on the Lagos park. Mexican keeper José Rodriguez emerged as Usami's arch-nemesis with a string of saves which brought the crowd to their feet.
3 - The number of goals against Lennart Thy's name to date. A brace today has taken him to the top of the scoring charts. At the European championship on home soil, the Werder Bremen youngster earned a share in the Golden Shoe with a total of three goals.