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Italy break Spain, Brazil men’s unbeaten mark

Italy have broken the record for consecutive men’s internationals unbeaten after their goalless draw at Switzerland made it 36 games since their last defeat.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho had a chance to win the game late on but saw his penalty saved.

The European champions matched the the previous 35-match mark jointly held by Brazil (1993-96) and Spain (2007-09), when the Azzurri drew 1-1 with Bulgaria.

The draw with Bulgaria was Italy’s first outing since beating England on penalties in the Euro 2020 final.

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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 a friendly with Ukraine which they drew 1-1.

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.

Despite their unbeaten run prior to the European Championship, Italy were not among the favourites for the tournament with their 1-0 win away to Netherlands en route to reaching the UEFA Nations League finals considered the only victory against a major opponent.

However, at the Euros, Italy swept through their group before producing arguably their best display to eliminate Belgium in the quarterfinals before overcoming Spain and England on spot kicks.

Italy’s unbeaten run is still some way short of the all-time football record as the United States women went 51 unbeaten from 2004 to 2007.

Italy’s unbeaten run

Friendly: Italy 1-1 Ukraine – Oct. 10, 2018
Nations League: Poland 0-1 Italy – Oct. 14, 2018
Nations League: Italy 0-0 Portugal – Nov. 17, 2018
Friendly: Italy 1-0 United States – Nov. 20, 2018
Euro qual: Italy 2-0 Finland – Mar 23, 2019
Euro qual: Italy 6-0 Liechtenstein – Mar. 26, 2019
Euro qual: Greece 0-3 Italy – June 8, 2019
Euro qual: Italy 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina – June 11, 2019
Euro qual: Armenia 1-3 Italy – Sept 5, 2019
Euro qual: Finland 1-2 Italy – Sept. 8, 2019
Euro qual: Italy 2-0 Greece – Oct. 12, 2019
Euro qual: Liechtenstein 0-5 Italy – Oct. 15, 2019
Euro qual: Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-3 Italy – Nov. 15, 2019
Euro qual: Italy 9-1 Armenia – Nov 18, 2019
Nations League: Italy 1-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina – Sept. 4, 2020
Nations League: Netherlands 0-1 Italy – Sept. 7, 2020
Friendly: Italy 6-0 Moldova, Oct. 7, 2020
Nations League: Poland 0-0 Italy – Oct. 11, 2020
Nations League: Italy 1-1 Netherlands – Oct. 14, 2020
Friendly: Italy 4-0 Estonia – Nov. 11, 2020
Nations League: Italy 2-0 Poland – Nov. 15, 2020
Nations League: Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-2 Italy – Nov. 18, 2020
WC qual: Italy 2-0 Northern Ireland – Mar. 25, 2021
WC qual: Bulgaria 0-2 Italy – Mar. 28, 2021
WC qual: Lithuania 0-2 Italy – Mar. 31, 2021
Friendly: Italy 7-0 San Marino – May 28, 2021
Friendly: Italy 4-0 Czech Republic – June 4, 2021
Euro 2020: Turkey 0-3 Italy – June 11, 2021
Euro 2020: Italy 3-0 Switzerland – June 16, 2021
Euro 2020: Italy 1-0 Wales – June 20, 2021
Euro 2020: Italy 2-1 Austria aet – June 26, 2021
Euro 2020 QF: Belgium 1-2 Italy – July 2, 2021
Euro 2020 SF: Italy 1-1 Spain (Italy won on pens) – July 6, 2021
Euro 2020 F: Italy 1-1 England (Italy won on pens) – July 11, 2021
WC qual: Italy 1-1 Bulgaria – Sept. 2, 2021
WC qual: Switzerland 0-0 Italy – Sept. 5, 2021

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