Uzbekistan have booked a place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup last 16 after a 3-0 win over Fiji, coupled with Honduras' heavy defeat to Germany, saw them leap from bottom to second place in Group F.
A trio of second-half goals sealed the dramatic upturn in fortunes, with Eldor Shomurodov and Zabikhillo Urinboev on target in the space of a minute before Mirjamol Kosimov rounded off the scoring.
Both sides fielded unchanged sides, which was certainly no surprise when it came to the islanders, coming off the back of that historic 3-0 win over Honduras. Unless the Central Americans pulled off a surprise and earned a point of more against Germany, the Oceanian side knew a point would do.
For the Uzbeks there was much less margin for error - it was win or bust. That was clearly reflected in their start to the game, which was one-way traffic for the first ten minutes and included several goalscoring chances. First, Fiji keeper Miswani Nairube spilled a bouncing free-kick only to see Odiljon Hamrobekov head straight at him from four yards, before both Shomurodov and Urinboev hit the woodwork in the space of three seconds.
Waqa ruffled the side-netting as Fiji looked to secure a position in the next round, but they were always on the back foot. Hamrobekov had another opportunity before Rustanjon Ashurmatov missed a golden chance, failing to make contact with a header when all alone five yards out. The Uzbek front line was becoming visibly frustrated as the break neared, but they would finally get their reward.
It came from something of a comedy of errors as, having allowed Khamdamov – arguably the most creative figure on the field – to get his cross in, Shomurodov badly miscues his header. But it proved to be his lucky day as the ball cannoned off a Praneel Naidu's heel giving him a second bite at the cherry, with his weak effort slipping through the hands of Nairube.
Within a minute it was two and the Fijian fairytale was all but over, as Urinboev's shot squirmed under the goalkeeper. Mirjamol Kosimov then fired across goal into the bottom-right corner for a late third to provide the icing on the cake as Uzbekistan booked their place in the last 16.