Familiar foes to meet in semi

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

The two countries know each other well.

They play similar styles of soccer.

And neither has made it this far at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

"We're looking forward to the semifinal," said Czech midfielder Ondrej Mazuch through an interpreter following their shootout victory over Spain.

"We're very excited to have been able to make it this far. We have beatensome very good teams to get here as have Austria."

Austria qualified for the semifinal with a 2-1 win over the United States earlier in the day in Toronto. The Czech Republic eliminated Spain last night at Commonwealth Stadium, winning in a shootout.

The two teams were scoreless at the end of regulation play, then both scored a goal in the two 15-minute extra time sessions.

Austria and the Czech Republic will now meet Wednesday (5:45 p.m.) for the right to play in the final Sunday in Toronto.

"We played against Austria in the European championships last year and beat them 3-1," said Czech forward Tomas Pekhart. "But this is going to be a different game and we have to concentrate from the first minute.

"We think it'll be a more difficult opponent than Spain because now we are the favourites and everyone will expect us to win."

Neither team was expected to get this far in the tournament. However both have put up impressive results in underdog roles.

Austria beat Gambia in their second-round game before going on to beat the U.S. The Czech Republic defeated Japan in the second round, also in a penalty shootout.

"I think the first half will be defensive because we don't know what to expect, which will be the same with them," Pekhart said. "I think just one goal can win the game."


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