Group C was descfribed by many observers as the toughest at Egypt 2009 and there can be little doubt that the group lived up to its pre-tournament billing in terms of excitement. Germany, Korea Republic, Cameroon and USA were all in with a chance of qualification on the final day of fixtures and, in the end, it was the former two who went on to secure their respective places in the last 16.
The tale of the teams
Germany: Following their UEFA U-19 European Championship title success last year, the Germans were among the pre-tournament favourites for Egypt 2009. However, following a string of poor results in the build-up to the competition, German officials began to play down expectations. And now? Two convincing victories against the USA and Cameroon, as well as a draw against Korea Republic and a goal difference of 7:1 ensured Horst Hrubesch's charges' smooth progression into the round of 16. "We were up against one of the best teams at the tournament," surmised Cameroon coach Alain Wabo following his side's defeat to the men in white.
Korea Republic: The Asian side are improving with each game. After a disappointing opening 2-0 defeat against Cameroon, Hong Myung-Bo's charges put in a far more convincing display to come from behind and take a point in the 1-1 draw with Germany. However, the Taeguk Warriors reserved their best performance for when it really mattered. Only a win against the USA would secure their progression from the group stage and the Asians delivered with an emphatic 3-0 victory which saw them climb from fourth to second in the table. They now face Group B runners-up Paraguay in the last 16.
USA: "We're very disappointed," said coach Thomas Rongen, echoing the sentiments of both players and fans alike after his side crashed out at the group stage despite being among the pre-tournament favourites. Comprehensive 3-0 defeats against both Korea Republic and Germany, either side of a 4-1 success over Cameroon were not enough for the Americans to make it past the first hurdle.
Cameroon: Similarly to the Stars and Stripes, the Young Lions had to pack their suitcases early after failing to secure a top-two berth. The tournament began in promising fashion with a 2-0 victory over Korea Republic and a single point from their final two games would have been enough to take them into the last 16. However, a 4-1 defeat against the USA followed by a 3-0 reverse against Germany left their qualification dreams in tatters. Furthermore, it appears their coach's future may be in jeopardy: "I wouldn't be surprised if I'm out of a job when we get back," said Wabo.
A goal to remember: Cameroon's Germain Tiko will surely go down in the FIFA U-20 World Cup record books after his 64th-minute strike against Korea Republic. It was the 500th goal scored by an African team in the history of the competition.
God bless the coach: The Korea Republic players evoked euphoric scenes from the crowd in their match against the USA as all 11 players ran to their coach Hong Myung-Bo and fell to their knees. The reason for this unusual celebration was the Korean national holiday of Chusuk, when families give thanks for all their possessions.
Song and dance: Training can be tough. Most players are happy get under the showers and take a break in their hotel rooms following an exhausting day's work, but the Cameroon U-20 players finished off their sessions in a quite different manner. Following training, the players formed a circle and began to dance and sing, mostly songs from their homeland, making their way around the whole pitch.
3 - Four of the six games in Group C ended with a three-goal margin. Germany won their matches against the USA and Cameroon 3-0, while the USA beat Cameroon 4-1 and Korea Republic took all three points against the USA 3-0.
"This group was wide open right to the very end and anything was possible. It was a very interesting group because all four teams play a different style of football. For example, the Germans are very disciplined, Korea Republic are a great technical team and Cameroon are very physical. Now we need to sit down together and take a look at the state of US football in this age group," Thomas Rongen, USA coach.