Roberto Mancini not happy despite Italy making it 36 games unbeaten with Swiss stalemate

Jorginho sees another penalty saved as Mancini promises changes for Lithuania World Cup qualifier

Italy set a new record of 36 matches unbeaten following a goalless draw with Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

The European champions missed out on a glorious chance to celebrate the milestone with a win after midfielder Jorginho failed from the penalty spot again.

The stalemate in Basel saw the Azzurri surpass the 35-game unbeaten mark they had shared with Spain and Brazil. Brazil's record of 35 games without defeat was set between 1993 and 1996, while Spain equalled that mark in 2009.

The result could have been more positive had Jorginho converted from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute after Domenico Berardi had been fouled, but the Chelsea midfielder was thwarted by Yann Sommer.

Italy had further chances to snatch victory but had to settle for a draw, meaning they remain top of Group C on 11 points from five games, four ahead of the second-placed Swiss, who have two matches in hand.

"Today we played a great match, better even than the 3-0 win against Switzerland in June [in Euro 2020 group stage], but we just could not score," defender Giorgio Chiellini told Rai Sport.

"I liked our play a lot today. There were many positives."

It was a second successive draw for Roberto Mancini's men after they were held 1-1 by Bulgaria on Thursday.

But the visitors were much the better side in the first half in Basel and should have taken the lead through good chances for Berardi and Lorenzo Insigne, both of whom were denied by Sommer.

The best chance of the night came seven minutes into the second half after Ricardo Rodriguez, trying to atone for being caught in possession, lunged in on Berardi to concede a penalty.

Jorginho, who missed his spot kick in Italy's penalty shootout victory over England in the European Championship final, stepped up but placed his effort far too close to Sommer, who made an easy save.

Sommer proved impossible to breach as he denied Lorenzo Insigne to leave Italy heading home having been frustrated for the second successive qualifier.

"We have had too many chances not to win this match," Mancini said. "We have to be more ruthless and precise in front of goal.

"A match like this should have been a win 3-0. For sure there will be some changes in the next match."

There was some confusion about whether Italy had equalled or broken the unbeaten streak record on Sunday as Brazil claimed their run had also stretched to 36 matches, with the South Americans including a 2-2 draw with Romania's B team in September 1995 in their tally.

As it was not recognised by Fifa due to the match being against a reserve team, it is not part of Brazil's run.

The Azzurri face Lithuania on Wednesday, while Switzerland travel to Northern Ireland.

Updated: September 6th 2021, 3:47 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS