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Federation Internationale de Football Association

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Match day preview for 12 June 2006

Match day preview for 12 June 2006

  • Match #9 - Hanover - ITALY-GHANA *

Italy and Ghana's senior teams have never met before.

Italy are unbeaten in FWC matches against African teams: they drew 1-1 with Cameroon in 1982, defeated Nigeria 2-1 in extra time in a round-of-16 match in 1994 and won 3-0 in a 1998 group match v. Cameroon.

Italy are on a positive run of 19 matches without defeat in FIFA World Cup games played in Europe. Their last defeat in Europe was on 23 June 1974 in Germany, where they lost 1-2 to Poland. This was followed by 13 wins and 6 draws (two of which, however, they lost on penalties) in Spain 1982, Italy 1990 and France 1998.

Carlos Simon will be the fourth Brazilian referee to officiate in two different editions; he follows in the footsteps of Viana (1950-1954), Marques (1966, 1974) and Coelho (1978-1982). At the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ Simon refereed 2 matches, one of which involved Italy (v. Mexico).

  • Match #10 - Gelsenkirchen - USA-CZECH REPUBLIC*

USA have previously met Czechoslovakia at FWC on just one occasion, losing 1-5 in Florence in 1990.

USA have lost all seven of their FWC matches played in Europe to date: one match in Italy in 1934, three in Italy in 1990 and three in France in 1998.

For the first time in FIFA World Cup™ history a Paraguayan referee - Carlos Amarilla - will officiate a match involving a CONCACAF team. Amarilla previously refereed the 2004 Copa America final between Brazil and Argentina.

  • Match #12 - Kaiserslautern - AUSTRALIA-JAPAN*

Australia lead in previous head-to-heads with Japan with four wins, three draws and three defeats. Their first meeting came at the 1956 Olympic Football Tournament, when Australia defeated Japan 2-0, and the most recent was in 2001, when Japan won 1-0 at the FCC in Yokohama.

Japan failed to win in their two previous FWC first matches: in 1998, they lost 0-1 v. Argentina and in 2002, they drew 2-2 with Belgium.

This is the first FWC match to be contested by an Oceania-qualified team since 23 June 1982, when New Zealand lost 0-4 v. Brazil in their last group match.

One of the Australia's three FIFA World Cup™ matches in 1974 ( v. Germany FR) was also led by an Egyptian referee, Kamel Mahmoud.

FIFA Communications Division

Berlin, 10 June 2006