Like the World Champion France, European winners Italy are still winless during the International break, but at Basel, after Sommer denied Italy full points, the Azzurri created a new record of longest unbeaten run in the history of International Football.
Not the win Mancini's men wanted tonight, but the #Azzurri are now 3⃣6⃣ games unbeaten.
— Italy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Azzurri_En) September 5, 2021
The Azzurri make history with a 36-game unbeaten run, a new world record – The European champions matched the previous 35-match mark jointly held by Brazil (1993-96) and Spain (2007-09) when the Azzurri drew 1-1 with Bulgaria.
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’s last defeat was in a UEFA Nations League group-stage clash with eventual winners Portugal on Sept. 10, 2018. Their next match was friendly with Ukraine which they drew 1-1.
?? European champions Italy set a new world record of 36 international matches unbeaten with their draw in Switzerland ⚽️
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 6, 2021
In that time, Italy have won 29 matches of which two were on penalties — and drawn six. The two penalty shootout wins were in the semifinals and final of Euro 2020, which Roberto Mancini’s side won.
The turnaround has been impressive given Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the fallout of which led to Mancini replacing Gian Piero Ventura as permanent manager in 2018.
Roberto Mancini made four changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Bulgaria on Thursday, introducing Manuel Locatelli, Domenico Berardi, Giorgio Chiellini and Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
The hosts were missing numerous stars, as Granit Xhaka has COVID-19, Xherdan Shaqiri, Mario Gavranovic, Breel Embolo and Eray Comert are injured, with Remo Freuler suspended, so Fabian Frei had his first cap since March 2018.
Italy are yet to win during the international break but that hardly matters for them because they've set a new record by remaining unbeaten for 36 matches after drawing against Switzerland. #WorldCupQualifiers pic.twitter.com/7CqxmqMv5s
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) September 6, 2021
Ciro Immobile shinned over when set up by Nicolo Barella, but Berardi should’ve done so much better when sent clear on the counter from a Swiss corner by Locatelli, firing straight at Yann Sommer one-on-one.
Another Locatelli inspired pass created an opportunity for Immobile, while Ricardo Rodriguez’s deflected cross hit the side-netting and Lorenzo Insigne’s curler skimmed the far top corner.
There was a real scare when Manuel Akanji’s header looped inches past the woodwork with Gianluigi Donnarumma struggling to get there.
At the stroke of half-time, Insigne’s free-kick from the tightest of angles was punched out from under the bar by Sommer.
? AZZURRI RECORD ??
Italy now hold the men's international record for consecutive unbeaten matches ? pic.twitter.com/VedKvvH2gE
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 5, 2021
Straight after the restart, Immobile pounced on a Ricardo Rodriguez defensive error and the Torino defender made it even worse by going in late on Berardi. Jorginho stepped up, but Sommer is a specialist on spot-kicks and saved the weak, central penalty. It was the first time Jorginho has failed to convert for Italy in normal time, but his second in a row considering the saved effort during the EURO 2020 Final shoot-out.
Nicolo Zaniolo was thrown on as a False 9 for his first Italy appearance in 363 days. Insigne was blocked off at the last moment twice by Akanji and Nico Elvedi, then was denied only by a sensational Sommer double save, again sent through by Locatelli.
When Zaniolo did manage to shake Akanji off, he slipped at the crucial moment, then tested Sommer directly from the corner flag.
Switzerland also threatened with Zakaria from a tricky angle, but Chiesa went on an astonishing run in which he nutmegged Elvedi, rode a sliding tackle and was eventually brought down by the third defender