Match day preview for 26 June 2006
Match 53 - Kaiserslautern - Italy v. Australia*
Italy and Australia have played each other only once before: at the Olympic Football Tournament in Melbourne in 2000, Italy - coached by former 1982 World Champion Marco Tardelli - won 1-0, with the decisive goal scored by Andrea Pirlo in the 81st minute.
The only previous head-to-head featured several players who are part of the current FIFA World Cup squads: Australia's Bresciano, Emerton, Grella, Lazaridis, Neill, Skoko, Viduka and Culina (unused substitute) and Italy's Gattuso, Pirlo and Zambrotta.
Italy hold the record for most FIFA World Cup goals scored by substitutes players: total 13 goals.
Italy are unbeaten in regular and extra-time in their last 22 FIFA World Cup matches on European soil (15 wins, 7 draws); their last defeat in this event in Europe came on 23 June 1974 against Poland in Stuttgart (1-2).
This match marks Guus Hiddink's 18th outing as a FIFA World Cup coach; he makes it to fourth place on the all-time ranking for number of matches as coach after Germany's Herberger, Italy's Bearzot and Brazil's Parreira.
As coach, Hiddink has already defeated Italy at the round of 16: he led Korea Republic to a memorable 2-1 victory over Italy in 2002 (golden goal scored by Ahn).
Match 54 - Cologne - Switzerland v. Ukraine*
Switzerland v. Ukraine is a first-ever at senior national team level.
The two teams have met at youth level in both women's (two games) and men's competitions; at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship Switzerland and Ukraine recorded a goalless draw, a match which involved several players who are now on the respective FIFA World Cup teams: Ukraine's Shust, Chigrinskyi, Iatsenko and Milevskiy, and Switzerland's Dzemaili, Behrami and Djourou.
To date, Switzerland have met four teams who were formerly part of the Soviet Union: Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Georgia.
Switzerland are the only team not to have conceded a goal in this year's competition so far.
For the first time ever, Switzerland did not lose a single match at the group stage.
The clash of two goal getters: Andriy Shevchenko has scored 20 FIFA World Cup goals so far: a total of 18 in all qualifying competitions since France '98, and two in the 2006 final competition. The tally of his counterpart, Alexander Frei, stands at 12 qualifying goals (2002 and 2006) and two goals at this year's competition (one goal each v. Togo and v. Korea Republic).
Historically speaking, Switzerland have one of the highest strike rates of teams who have participated in three or more FIFA World Cups; to date, they have scored 35 goals and won 25 points (1.4 goals per point) - only Hungary are superior in this respect.
Ukraine are the second newcomer, after Ghana, to qualify for the second round of this FIFA World Cup. The last European newcomer to qualify for the knock-out stage was Croatia in 1998 (they went on to finish third in the competition!).
Matches on 26 June have always ended in defeat for Switzerland: in 1954, they lost out to Austria in one of the most memo¬rable matches in history, going down 5-7 in a quarter-final played in Lausanne; in 1994, they lost their last group match to Colombia but nevertheless qualified for the round of 16.
FIFA Communications Division
Berlin, 24 June 2006