Italy set a new record for the longest unbeaten run in the history of international football but played out goalless draw with Switzerland on Sunday.
Italy set a new all-time record for 36 international games undefeated after being kept at bay to play out a goalless stalemate by Switzerland in a FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier Group C fixture on Sunday, with Jorginho missing a vital penalty. Italy, though, have now gone 36 consecutive games without a loss, surpassing the 35-match undefeated streak previously held by Spain and Brazil.
Following a disappointing outcome against Bulgaria. The European champions put up an improved performance and were the better side for large parts of the game. They had numerous chances to score but could not get past Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who was impregnable on the day.
Italy dominated the proceedings from the start in Basel with Lorenzo Insigne pulling a few shots wide or straight into Sommer’s hands, but the Swiss defensive line was stretched when Domenico Berardi made a darting run to find himself 1v1 with the goalkeeper only to be unable to place the shot.
The biggest chance of the match came eight minutes after the break when Ricardo Rodriguez rushed in on Berardi recklessly to surrender a silly penalty. Jorginho, who failed to convert his penalty in Italy’s Euro final penalty shootout triumph against England, sent a tame effort too close to Sommer, who produced a simple save in the end to bail his side out of the situation.
It is another frustrating result in the ongoing international break for the Azzurri, who have failed to score under Roberto Mancini’s reign for only the third time. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Mancini’s men.
36 GAMES UNBEATEN 😤
Italy set a new men’s international record for most consecutive matches without defeat 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/7gqVhbiZqF
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 5, 2021
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6.5/10
Donnarumma did not have much to do, thanks to the shield of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in front of him. He was good with his distribution and came up with a couple of decent saves late in the game when Switzerland tested him.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo: 6/10
Di Lorenzo was chosen ahead of Alessandro Florenzi and Davide Calabria, but laboured against Steven Zuber and gave him too much space to roam on the flank. He also had one terrible pass that almost resulted in a goal and was hardly an attacking force. With many quality right-back alternatives on the Italian roster, Di Lorenzo will have to perform to keep his place in the playing eleven.
Leonardo Bonucci: 7/10
The Italian veteran was not at his best against a Swiss side missing their key attacking players but probably did enough to keep things solid at the back. He also misplaced a pass which eventually resulted in a shot.
Georgio Chiellini: 8/10
Despite turning 37 recently, the Italy captain has not lost a bit of hunger and grit. Switzerland found a lot of space in the midfield, but Chiellini and his partner in crime Bonucci shut them out completely. He is still very cool on the ball, completing 93% of his passes.
Emerson Palmieri: 7/10
Emerson had a quality game that shows his improvement, both offensively and defensively. He was never caught out of position and showed good link-up play with Lorenzo Insigne on the left flank. The Lyon full-back also made a couple of good runs bombarding forward.
Nicolo Barella: 7/10
Barella could not make his mark on the game as he would have liked. He was flashy and brilliant in the first half but was largely neutralised by Djibril Sow. As usual, though, Barella was full of energy and fought hard for the ball, winning six of the nine ground duels contested. Barella also laid out one key pass and played well after suffering a knock early on.
Sommer successfully deceived our world best Jorginho pic.twitter.com/t4QZ3xtxa2
— Tunde Westside 👨🏿🍳🇳🇬 (@Tunde4L) September 5, 2021
The Chelsea star was fairly anonymous in the midfield and had a nightmare display he would like to forget quickly. His lack of speed means he was easy to get past in the midfield, which helped the Swiss get a foothold. The shot on the penalty was very casual and lacked any pace. A rare blip for Jorginho
Manuel Locatelli: 8/10
Locatelli was the best midfielder on the pitch and was on creative peak, in fine form. The midfielder was deployed in the deep-lying playmaker role and was hugely impressive, sliding in several dangerous balls and passing through the Swiss backline. He was effective with his defensive output, stifling several opposition attacks. Completed 89% of his passes and made three key passes while making three tackles.
Domenico Berardi: 5/10
The Sassuolo star struggled to produce something in the game. He made a long-run to create a 1v1 chance for himself but scuffed his shot. Berardi ended with two shots and was hooked off by Mancini at the hour mark.
Ciro Immobile: 5/10
Immobile was very quiet again and was offering little to Azzurri’s attacks. His hold-up play left a lot to be desired, and Mancini may prefer Belotti ahead of him in the next set of fixtures that Italy play.
Lorenzo Insigne: 7/10
Insigne was the liveliest of all the forwards. He ran through the Swiss defence with his dribbling and got into very dangerous positions; The Napoli captain was unfortunate with his attempts and curling efforts. He took four shots and laid two key passes, combining well with Emerson to burn down the left flank.
Federico Chiesa: 6.5/10
It was baffling why Mancini did not start Chiesa. Upon his introduction, the Juventus forward added the much-needed injection of pace and was more purposeful than Immobile.
Nicolo Zaniolo: 5/10
Back for the first time since his lengthy spell on the sidelines, Zaniolo looked to be more of a threat than Berardi.