Tournament surprise packages they may be, but there is no doubt that semi-final opponents Colombia and Switzerland are richly deserving of a place in the last four at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009. Having both overcome tough quarter-final rivals in dramatic fashion, confidence will be high in the respective camps going into Thursday 12 November's clash at Lagos' Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Colombia head into the fixture with morale high, having engineered last-gasp escapes in their previous games against Argentina and Turkey. Trailing by a goal with just three minutes on the clock versus La Albiceleste in the Round of 16, Los Cafeteros somehow grabbed two late goals to win 3-2. Against Turkey, meanwhile, Ramiro Viafara's young charges notched a leveller with the final kick of injury time and went on to progress via a penalty shoot-out. The Colombians are thus ideally placed to improve on their best-ever finish at this competition, fourth place at Finland 2003, but will have to face Switzerland without suspended duo Fabian Castillo and Daniel Catano.
Tournament debutants Switzerland, for their part, have already left the likes of Brazil, Germany and Italy trailing in their wake and will see no reason why they cannot continue their impressive run on African soil. A win for the Swiss would better their nation's highest-ever finish at a FIFA competition, fourth spot at the Olympic Football Tournament Paris 1924, though coach Dany Ryser must find a way to replace key players in captain Frederic Veseli and midfield maestro Pajtim Kasami.
6 - The number of semi-final encounters between European and South American teams in FIFA U-17 World Cup history. UEFA sides currently lead their CONMEBOL counterparts by four victories to two.
"I've been very clear with my players: if we keep working as a team like we have done up to now then anything's possible. Both Colombia and ourselves go into this semi-final suffering fatigue and with players suspended, so whoever's morale is highest and is in the best mental state will win. Footballing and tactical ability are secondary at this stage." Dany Ryser, Switzerland coach
"Our goal before we came to Nigeria was to reach the semi-finals. We knew that should we achieve that then anything could happen. Now that we're there, we've got a tough game against Switzerland. But we do have one thing that could help us win: we really want to be crowned champions!" Juan Saiz, Colombia captain