After intrigue aplenty in the opening two rounds of matches New Zealand 2015, the fireworks came out on Day 3. Goals, and a record number of them, were its defining feature, with 28 - 12 more than on the first two matchdays combined - flying in at both Christchurch and New Plymouth.
Amid the high scorers there were also some big winners, with Brazil taking a crucial foothold in Group E after edging a wonderful game in which Nigeria also contributed hugely. Both must now look to catch section leaders Hungary, though, whose hat-trick hero Bence Mervo inspired an impressive 5-1 demolition of Korea DPR.
Nigeria 2-4 Brazil
Korea DPR 1-5 Hungary
Germany 8-1 Fiji
Uzbekistan 3-4 Honduras
Goal of the day
Nigeria 1-1 Brazil, Success Isaac (10)
Such was the quality of the strikes on show in New Plymouth's opening match that four of the six would have been worthy contenders. Yet Success Isaac's conversion - coolly rounding the keeper and slotting past despairing covering defenders - was not what made Nigeria's equaliser so special. Rather, it was the audacious assist provided by Musa Yahaya, who split the Brazil rearguard asunder with a first-time 'rabona' pass that brought Taranaki Stadium to its feet.
Winning isn't everything
Having ended the day on the receiving end of a drubbing, Fiji's squad might have been expected to form a collection of scowls and long faces. Far from it. From goalkeeper Misiwani Nairube bawling with pride during the anthems to Iosefu Verevou wildly celebrating his consolation goal, there was only pride and joy on show. Fiji, even in defeat, had made history. As coach Frank Farina said: "This game, that goal, meant so much for the country."
As the scoreline and evenly balanced match stats suggest, there was very little to separate Honduras and Uzbekistan in Christchurch's later game. What proved decisive was the Central Americans' dead-ball prowess, with two of their players competing for the honour of scoring the game's best free-kick. Captain Jhow Benavidez led by example with a textbook curling effort in the first half, sent over the wall and in at the top-left corner. But Kevin Alvarez's powerful second-half effort - from closer in, but bent around the wall and into the opposite corner - was just as impressive. Future opponents should be wary of conceding anything within shooting distance.
Facing the music
As anyone watching will testify, today's matches were played against the musical backdrop of two very distinct sounds. In New Plymouth, it was a brass band that entertained the crowds with a few old-fashioned favourites, while the sound of Fijian beats accompanied the first of Christchurch's games. The drummer in question was 21-year-old Ashish Kumar, who told FIFA.com: "It's one of the most amazing experiences of my life to see Fiji play a World Cup. I just give them all my support I can."
Hungary's hat-trick club
It is unlikely that Hungary's Bence Mervo woke up this morning expecting to score a hat-trick in his World Cup debut. But having achieved that surprise feat, he will be doubly shocked to learn the elite club he has now joined. While none of his countrymen have previously scored a treble in a U-20 finals, three have managed the feat at the senior event. And by shining today Mervo now finds himself in the company of Laszlo Kiss - the first substitute to score a World Cup hat-trick - and national icons Florian Albert and Sandor Kocis.
28 - The remarkable number of goals, an average of seven per match, that were served up today. This set a new U-20 World Cup record for a single matchday, surpassing even the figures registered when eight games would be played at this tournament in a single day. Germany did most to set this new benchmark by registering their biggest-ever win at the U-20 finals.
"My mind was off. The ball was wet and I just couldn't get my grip properly. I must do better."
Nigeria goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo on his crucial mistake against Brazil.
Tuesday 2 June 2015 (all times local)
Group A (Whangarei & Auckland)
New Zealand-USA, 19.00
Group B (Wellington)