Roberto Mancini’s Italy extended their winning streak to 34 matches on Sunday, after they secured their second Euro title by edging past England 3-2 on penalties in the final of UEFA Euro 2020.
Leonardo Bonucci cancelled Luke Shaw's second-minute strike to see the game end at 1-1 after extra time, before penalties. While Andrea Belotti and Jorginho missed their spot-kicks, the trio of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka failed to score which propelled the visitors to their first win over the Three Lions since 2014.
The last time the Azzurri had lost a game was on September 10, 2018, when Andre Silva’s 48th minute strike was enough for Portugal to win 1-0 in the group stage of the UEFA Nations League. The Italians have lost just two matches since Mancini took charge of the national team.
It was their 2-1 win over Austria in the Euro 2020 round of 16 that saw Italy extend their unbeaten run to a record 31 games, surpassing the previous record set by Vittorio Pozzo’s Italian team of the 1930s, which was an extremely successful era for the Azzurri.
Italy have broken their unbeaten record in their NT HISTORY.— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) June 26, 2021
31 wins, beating the 30 under Vittorio Pozzo in 1939. 🇮🇹
📰 via Opta pic.twitter.com/ewzvPhwtOr
Under Pozzo, Italy went unbeaten between October 1935 and July 1939. During this time, they won a second successive World Cup and the gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Italy’s run of 34 games without a defeat, however, isn’t the longest unbeaten run in international football. It is the second-longest unbeaten run on the international stage. Spain (2007-2009) and Brazil (1993-1996) lead the charts with 35 games unbeaten.
Longest unbeaten run in international football
Italy sets national record for longest run without conceding
On a day when the Italian side was largely troubled by Austria, they managed to break another one of their own records for not conceding a goal. After their round of 16 clash against Austria ended 0-0 in normal time, the Italian team completed 1,168 minutes without conceding a goal and set a new national record.
However, their record for the longest run without conceding a goal ended a mere 25 minutes later when Sasa Kalajdzic beat Gianluigi Donnarumma by heading the ball into Italy’s net in extra time. The Netherlands were the last team to score against Italy and they did so in a Nations League match on October 14, 2020.
The previous record for Italy not conceding a goal was set under Ferruccio Valcareggi when goalkeeper Dino Zoff went 1143 minutes without conceding a goal.
Photo: AFP / Michael Reagan