Nemeth: Exceeding expectations
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A quick scan of Hungary's media guide for the FIFA U-20 World Cup reveals that 16 out of Hungary's 21-man squad for Egypt 2009 thought that they would exit at the quarter-final stage, or even earlier. Ironically, one of those players is Krisztian Nemeth, who fired the goals that took his team to the semi finals. The big striker bagged a brace in extra time to help Hungary to a 3-2 extra-time win over Italy in a breathtaking encounter.

 "To be honest, I didn't think that we would reach the semi-finals, but I'm happy we're in this position," he told FIFA.com. "I thought we were always capable of getting good results, but now we can show that we deserve to be in the final four.

"The Italy game was certainly the tensest match of the tournament, but I'm not sure if it was our best performance. It was a great game. I don't think I've played in one like that before, but they are the type of occasions why I started to play football."

However, the win came at a cost to the Europeans. A 49th minute booking for Vladimir Koman means that their influential captain, who has scored four goals in the competition so far, will miss out on the semi-final clash against Ghana in Cairo, a game which Nemeth believes will be just as entertaining as the one that preceded it.

"Obviously Koman is one of our best players, so we're going to play for him, because he deserves the chance to play in the final," he said. "To do that, we have to win. I expect a very hard game. We know that they are quick and strong, but we might have the edge tactically. I'm sure it will be a great game - and I think we can win it."

I thought we were always capable of getting good results, but now we can show that we deserve to be in the final four.
Krisztian Nemeth, Hungary striker.

Just prior to coming out for the tournament, Nemeth netted his first goals for AEK Athens, the club he joined on loan at the start of the season. However, he believes that a full pre-season spent at Anfield, and working with his idol Fernando Torres, has made him into a better player.

"I was preparing for the season with the Liverpool first team squad and I was trying to check every single thing he did, because he is such a fantastic player and I'm trying to learn as much as possible," he continued.

"This year is very important for me. I think I'm in a good place in Athens where I can learn a lot and improve my skills. Hopefully everything will go well and then we'll see what happens. Despite my first goals for AEK, it wasn't a difficult decision to come here at all. It's a great thing to play at a World Cup. For me, that has to come first and I knew I wanted to come here."

However, his hopes of starring at the FIFA U-20 World Cup were almost over before they began as Nemeth suffered an ankle injury in Greece. Although he featured in the first game against Honduras, he was ruled out of the 4-0 win over South Africa as the injury flared up again. Now, fully fit, the 20-year-old is hoping to cause the Ghana defence a few problems.

"I had some problems before coming to Egypt and in the group stages, but you have to put them out of your head," he said. "You've also got to get rid of any thoughts of tiredness you may have. You have to put all your focus into the next games, as well as take the positives from the last ones."