Italy and Hungary, two nations steeped in footballing tradition go head to head for a place in the semi-finals in Suez on Friday. These teams contested the Final of the FIFA World Cup™ back in 1938, which Italy won 4-2, but the Magical Magyars were bronze medal winners after beating I Azzurri 2-1 during the 1960 Olympic Football Tournament.
The winners of this match will be entering unchartered territory. Italy have made it to the quarter finals on two previous occasions, but lost 1-0 to Chile in 1987 and exited on penalties against Morocco four years ago. Hungary, meanwhile, have not reached the last eight in a FIFA competition since the FIFA U-17 World Cup China PR in 1985, when the eastern Europeans emerged from the first round only to be beaten 3-1 by Nigeria. A semi-final clash against either Korea Republic or Ghana in Cairo is waiting for the victors.
1 - The victory over Czech Republic was the first match decided by penalties involving a Hungarian national side in an official competition. Previously the senior team had prevailed against FYR Macedonia in a shoot-out in 1998, at a friendly tournament held in Tehran.
"The victory over Spain should have acted as a further boost to our confidence because we defeated one of the tournament's best teams, but we still need to keep improving if we are to go all the way. We're meeting an opponent who we know well, but they know the way we play too," Francesco Rocca, Italy coach.
"I must confess, we were training, so I did not watch the Spain-Italy match live. However, I've asked some members of my staff to compile a dossier and I'm sure we can find some ways to beat them after analysing their performances," Sandor Egervari, Hungary coach.