Italy finished top of Group B after defeating Switzerland 6-4, which puts them up against Japan in the quarter-finals on Thursday 16 July.
The two sides were familiar with one another, which made for an exciting clash in Espinho. The motivation to avoid facing hosts Portugal in the quarters was clear to see as the first two periods saw three lead changes and a total of eight goals – including one by Swiss player/head coach Angelo Schirinzi.
After non-stop first and second periods, the pace of the game had fatigued the teams and goals were harder to come by in the third period. However, when Paolo Palmacci scored to give the Italians a three-goal lead it was enough to eventually secure first place in the group.
Switzerland finish second and will play hosts Portugal in the quarters on Thursday.