Italy broke the record for the longest unbeaten run in international matches after they were held to a goalless draw by Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday, with Jorginho missing a penalty again.
Italy have not lost for 36 consecutive matches, breaking the 35-match unbeaten run record that had previously been shared by Spain and Brazil. Brazil’s record of 35 was set between 1993 and 1996, while Spain equalled that mark in 2009.
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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 home goalkeeper 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.”
Roberto Mancini’s side came into the match having disappointingly drawn 1-1 with Bulgaria on Thursday in their first match since becoming European champions in July.
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 Euro 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 Insigne again 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.
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