Having met each other in the UEFA European U-17 Championship back in May, Italy and Switzerland are preparing to go head-to-head again on Sunday in Ijebu-Ode. On this occasion there is a greater prize on offer with the victors progressing to the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009. The Swiss are brimming with confidence but cannot afford to be complacent against the Italians, famed for their ability to deliver on the big occasions.
Switzerland could not be in better shape going into this game. Despite this being their first FIFA U-17 World Cup, they have already left behind the likes of Mexico, Japan, Brazil and Germany en route to the last eight. A quarter-final place is a fitting reward for the fitness and tactical nous shown by Danny Ryser's young starlets, the surprise packages of the tournament so far.
Nevertheless, The Swiss will be wary of their next opponents. If somewhat less spectacular, The Azzurrini have been equally effective on their path to the quarter-finals in a competition they have yet to add to their underage honours list. A solid and resilient side, they will hope that the efficacy that has characterised Italian sqauds over the years sees them through once again. They arrive at this juncture having topped Group F and eliminated USA in the Round of 16.
3 - The number of goals Switzerland scored against Italy when they met in the group phase of the European U-17 Championship in May. The Swiss won 3-1 on that occasion with goals from Perin, Andre Goncalves and Janick Kamber. Giacomo Beretta was Italy's goalscorer on the day.
"This campaign represents a victory for everybody connected with Swiss football, but it is no upset. The results have been sensible and thoroughly deserved given the work we have been doing. Now we must do the same against Italy, who we've already beaten in the European Championship but remain a great football nation." Danny Ryser, Switzerland coach
"We said we wanted to play Germany so we could avenge the defeat in the European Championship, although playing Switzerland also offers us that possibility. They also beat us in May and we hope to get our own back now." Giacomo Beretta, Italy forward