THE DAY REPLAYED - On the penultimate day of action in the group phase of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 Korea Republic disposed of USA to clinch their place in the knockout stages. Thanks to that result and Germany's equally emphatic defeat of Cameroon, Nigeria advanced to the next round without even playing, leaving only three berths still to be filled in the Round of 16.
The Germans' 3-0 win ensured they finished top of Group C, with Ghana taking the spoils in Group D after sharing four goals in an entertaining encounter with Uruguay. In the other game in that section, England and Uzbekistan played out a 1-1 draw that sealed the fates of both sides. Also exiting the competition are the Cameroonians, while USA are clinging on to a slim chance of going through as one of the best third-placed sides.
Despite having outplayed their South American opponents, Ghana could find no reward for their domination. That was until the irrepressible Andre Ayew popped up on the right and slipped the ball between the legs of Adrian Gunino and into the path of Mohammed Rabiu. Cutting back to the edge of the box, the midfielder then unleashed an unstoppable left-footed drive on the turn, giving Uruguay keeper Martin Rodriguez no chance. Impressive throughout the tournament to date, Ghana showed with this stunning effort why they are a team to be feared.
Thanks coach: The Korea Republic players were so pleased with their opening goal against USA that they ran over the bench en masse and kneeled down in front of coach Hong Myung Bo. The gesture of appreciation is a Korean custom by the name of Chusuk, a means for families to express gratitude for everything they have. And in view of their show of admiration, the young Taeguk Warriors obviously see Hong as something of a father figure.
Target practice: The only reason Cameroon did not go down to a heavier defeat to Germany was the outstanding performance of Francois Beyokol between the posts. The Cameroon gloveman and captain showcased his agility and reflexes in the 53rd minute with a miraculous triple save. After keeping out Lewis Holtby's close-range shot with an outstretched hand, Beyokol got down smartly to deny Richard Sukuta-Pasu not once but twice from the rebound.
Style wars: Dominic Adiyiah caught the eye with his choice of footwear for Ghana's match with Uruguay, striding on to the pitch with one yellow and one blue boot. Perhaps jealous at being upstaged, team-mate Andre Ayew then swapped his black boots for a flashier white pair midway through the first half. It will be interesting to see what combinations the Ghanaians have in store for their last 16 outing.
849 - The number of minutes England had gone without scoring at the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals until Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely hit an equaliser against the Uzbeks. Their last goal in the competition came at Malaysia 1997, when Jamie Carragher netted in the 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Argentina.
"Thank God.......my broken heart is now healed and my hope has life again. Fly Eagles Fly," Rossimobis breathes a sigh of relief.
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