THE DAY REPLAYED - The line-up for the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2009 is slowly taking shape. Today, three new contenders, all European, clinched their place in the second round. To get there, Turkey needed two days, Italy two inspired halves, and Spain, two wonder goals.
Almost a full day after their first match was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch, Turkey and Costa Rica crossed swords for the second time. This time it only took the Turks three minutes to open the scoring, another early goal for Abdullah Ercan's men, who also scored quickly against Burkina Faso. The Ticos proved little match for the Europeans, whose 4-1 win boosted their goal difference and helped them assume an unassailable lead at the summit of Group D.
Unlike Turkey, Italy got off to a bad start against Korea Republic. Having struggled against Algeria, they were visibly second best against the Koreans, but had the mental strength to come back from a goal behind to win 2-1. In the other Group F fixture, Uruguay also waited till the second half to make their move, winning 2-0 against an Algeria side who were as naive as they were eager to win.
In Group E, two flashes of genius, one individual from Isco, and the other from a team move finished by Borja, handed Spain three points against United Arab Emirates and a place in the last 16. Adria Carmona added a clincher at the death to make it 3-1. In the afternoon, hopes were high that Malawi would feel under less pressure as they took on the USA, with the emotion of their first-ever match in a FIFA tournament behind them. Goalkeeper Cuthbert Sengwaa was clearly still on edge though, as he let a shot from Alex Shinsky slip between his legs for the only goal of the game.
Turkey 4-1 Costa Rica
USA 1-0 Malawi
UAE 1-3 Spain
Italy 2-1 Korea Republic
Uruguay 2-0 Algeria
Click on the links in the right-hand column for full reports on the day's matches.
Goal of the day
UAE-Spain, Isco 12'
Stunning, marvellous, magnificent - these and many more superlatives could be used to describe the Valencia forward's wonder goal. Acquiring the ball 40 metres from goal, he went past two defenders, shimmied past a third just outside the penalty area before sending a right-foot rocket into the top corner from 16 metres out.
Naivety or expertise?
Springing the offside trap is an art which requires concentration, synchronisation and coordination. The American defenders must have been working hard at it, as they caught the Malawaian forwards offside no less than 18 times. Either that or it was a case of the Young Flames showing their inexperience in major competitions.
Head to head
The Uruguayan captain Diego Polenta thought he'd opened the scoring in the first half against Algeria. Having come up for a corner, he made great contact with the ball, which he sent hurtling towards goal, only for the Algerian shot-stopper Abdennour Merzouki to make a save that was as effective as it was accidental, with the ball cannoning off his face. After being dazed for a few minutes, he re-took his place between the posts, finally conceding two goals in the second half.
Three the key
Three minutes was all it took for Turkey to make the breakthrough against Costa Rica courtesy of Omer Ali Sahiner. In their opening game against Burkina Faso, Muhammet Demir scored the game's only goal, also in the third minute. The Turks' next opponents, New Zealand, have been warned.
Captain outshone by collective effort
Two strikes against the crossbar, a converted penalty, a beautiful display of technique and a full house should have made the South Korean captain the star of the show against Italy. But the Italians' collective game got the better of the Korean dynamo, with the Taeguk Warriors finally going down 2-1.
3 - After their 3-1 win against UAE, Spain have now scored at least three goals in 12 of their 36 FIFA U-17 World Cup matches. Despite this impressive goalscoring record, La Roja have yet to lift the trophy.