Hungary 3-1 Italy Budapest, 22/08/07
Di Natale 49, Juhasz 61, Gera 66 pen, Feczesin 76
Hungary are the new Unofficial Football World Champions, defeating Italy and depriving the Azzurri of the unofficial and undisputed titles.
Italy started brightly, but were twice denied by Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop, currently on loan at Leicester City. The hosts fought back, and created good chances, but at half-time the score remained 0-0.
The deadlock was broken four minutes into the second half, with substitute Antonio Di Natale finishing smartly to give Italy the lead. But the Azzurri looked out of sorts, perhaps as a result of the late start to the Italian domestic season, and Hungary capitalised.
Roland Juhasz was left unmarked in the box to equalise after 61 minutes, skipper Zoltan Gera converted a penalty on 66, and Robert Feczesin finished a brilliant team move on 76 to give Hungary a fine 3-1 win.
Italy, who can no longer claim to be undisputed world champions, were deserved losers, and Fabio Cannavaro bore the brunt of the criticism from Italian fans. The 33-year-old World Cup-winning defender conceded the rash penalty that led to Hungary’s second goal, and was easily beaten in the build-up to the third.
But Hungarian newspapers toasted their nation’s win after years of underachievement. Magyar Nemzet proclaimed, ‘Something has returned from the old, forever lost glory, we beat the world champions 3 to 1.’ Nepszabadsag called the result, ‘the most beautiful soccer feat in recent memory.’
Hungary become UFWC champions for the first time since 1971. The country’s next UFWC title match is a Euro qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina on 8 September.
Hungary vs Italy – watch the goals
Hungary: Fulop, Szelesi, Vasko, Juhasz, Vanczak (Csizmadia 73), Vass, Tozser (Leandro 59), Hajnal (Filkor 59), Gera (Buzsaky 90), Priskin (Feczesin 73), Dzsudzsak (Halmosi 82)
Italy: Buffon, Oddo (Grosso 46), Cannavaro, Materazzi (Barzagli 46), Zambrotta, Pirlo, Aquilani (Palombo 66), Ambrosini, Quagliarella, Toni (Inzaghi 46), Del Piero (Di Natale 46)