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2017 U-20 World Cup round-up, round of 16: Zambia snuffs out Germany comeback

It was a shame this game could only have one winner.

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The stand-out game of the 2017 Men's U-20 World Cup so far, Zambia and Germany banged in seven goals between them, tortured their fans with dramatic shifts in momentum, and only settled the match in the second period of extra-time.

Zambia was the favorite to win this game, but much of that forecast was based on Germany's lackluster scoring record in this tournament to date. The Germans caused a brief re-assessment of predictions by scoring first, through Philipp Ochs' remarkable free kick in the 37th minute.

One of the more curious aspects of Zambia's form in this World Cup has been a persistent inability to score in the first half. The Group C winner has done all of its scoring after half-time, and was beaten in its last group-stage game by Costa Rica - a team that scored early and successfully held off Zambia's now-traditional second-half surge.

If Germany thought it might follow the same script, it thought wrong. On cue, after the re-start, Emmanuel Banda equalized in the 50th minute. Fashion Sakala put Zambia ahead in the 68th, and Enock Mwepu surely settled the match in the 86th.

But Germany had found a new script: weather the storm of Zambian scoring and then strike back. In the 89th minute Suat Serdar scored what looked a lot like a consolation goal. Nice try, Germany - but too little, too late.

Or not. Jonas Arweiler equalized in the fourth minute of stoppage time:  3-3 - the match was heading to extra-time, and Germany had all the momentum.

But Zambia found renewed resolve in extra-time. And at the start of the second period, Shemmy Mayembe put his team back in front - for good this time. Up 4-3, the Zambians closed out an extraordinary game to claim a quarterfinal berth.

Zambia moves on to the play France or Italy in a quarterfinal that will cost this tournament one of its better teams, but should also be one of its better games - though Zambia and Germany might just have played the highlight of the competition. It will be memorable U-20 World Cup if any other matches rise to the level of this one.