THE DAY REPLAYED - Tuesday's four games from Groups D and E at the FIFA U-20 World Cup saw no less than 22 goals fly in - the most prolific day so far at these finals. Twelve goals tumbled out of the wet night in Montreal as the USA came from behind to hammer Poland 6-1 and Brazil woke from their slumber with a 3-2 win despite a brave fightback from Korea Republic. Over in Ottawa ten goals hit the net as Korea DPR scored a late penalty to draw level with the Czechs 2-2 before holders Argentina grabbed their first goals of Canada 2007 in a 6-0 thrashing of poor Panama.
In the previous matchday in Group E, exactly zero goals were scored and only three ruffled the net in Group D. But today, the football gods surely had their eyes trained on eastern Canada as five players scored two goals apiece with an average of over five goals per game.
The U.S., who were lucky to sneak a draw in their first match with Korea Republic, looked to be on the way to more woe when they conceded a goal to the Poles inside five minutes in Montreal. But nothing could have been farther from the truth, and after 90 minutes the Polish players were literally fighting over who would have the honour of exchanging jerseys with master-class American captain Freddy Adu. Danny Szetela, who could have played for Poland with two native-born parents, got the U.S. back in it with a peerless header.
Then Adu showed the kind of style that has made him one of the hottest properties in world football since he signed his first pro contract at age 13. He scored three on the day to become the only player ever to score a hat trick at both U-17 and U-20 world finals. Szetela added another one and Josmer Altidore got on the board too as the Poles looked a pale shadow of the side that beat fancied Brazil with 10 men in their opener. Szetela and Adu now both have three goals each - tied for tournament top scorer with two games gone.
While the USA were taking the poles to pieces in Montreal, Ottawa was treated to a thrilling 2-2 draw between Asian Champions Korea DPR and the Czechs, who had stretched Argentina in their first match. In the 12th minute, the group finally got its first goal (the first matchday ended in two goalless draws) as Kum Il Kim put the Asians in front. Three more followed - as if atoning for the first day's lack of attacking output - including a Kwang Ik Jon penalty in the dying moments that the Czech keeper saved but was followed up on keenly by the taker. Despite the increased goal output, the end result was the same - one point apiece in a tricky looking group.
Brazil's highly rated Alexandre Pato, whose name translates as 'the duck', broke his with a brace over in the late game in Montreal as the South Americans finally got around to showing the style and panache that makes them famous and beloved the world over. His two second-half goals against the dynamic Koreans looked easy as a video game as his odd, seated celebration seemed to indicate. But the last ten minutes was anything but simple for the South Americans as Shim Young Sum and substitue Shin Young Rok both scored to set up a tense finally. Despite some ominous and nervy moments in stoppage time, the Brazilians - still not firing on all cylinders - snuck out with the three points.
Brazils archrivals Argentina took Ottawa by storm in the last game of the night as their stars shone brightly. Atletico starlet Sergio Aguero grabbed two, Mauro Zarate and Angel Di Maria one each and the diminutive Maximiliano Moralez two more in a 6-1 performance that had both the fans in the stands and the competition gasping.
With three goals in seven first-half minutes, the five-time champions Argentina set themselves another U-20 record on a night of shocking attack. They will meet Korea DPR in their final group match, while Brazil and the USA will square off in a hotly anticipated final contest over in Group D.