Italy Make History – The Top 5 Performances from the Azzurri’s Unbeaten Run

At the final whistle in Basel on Sunday night, not a single Italian player was celebrating the Azzurri’s disappointing draw at Switzerland. In fact, this result leaves Roberto Mancini’s men in a worrying position, with their spot at the top of the World Cup qualifying group threatened by their northern neighbors. Nevertheless, Italy had just achieved a historic feat by stretching their unbeaten run to 36 matches, breaking the previous international record set by both Brazil and Spain at 35.

Mancini’s great run – dating back to the Autumn of 2018 – included qualifiers for both the European championship and the 2022 World Cup, as well as Nation League fixtures and some friendly encounters, but most importantly, the Azzurri’s triumphant journey at Euro 2020.

So let’s recall the five biggest performances from the Italian national team throughout the ongoing historic run.

5- Italy vs. Armenia (Euro Qualifiers)

A random qualification match for the European Championship doesn’t exactly sound like an occasion to remember, and yet, the complete destruction of their opponents showcased a different face for the Italians.

The four-time world champions are renown for their cautious approach and for prioritizing defense over attack. However, the 9-1 destruction of their Armenian foes in Palermo opposed their stereotypical image.

Ciro Immobile and Zaniolo both bagged braces, and and the scoresheet even included surprising names like Riccardo Orsolini and Alessio Romagnoli.

4- Italy vs. Turkey (Euro 2020 Opener)

Before the start of Euro 2020, few recognized Italy as one of the favorites to win it all – despite their growing unbeaten run and their perfect qualification campaign (10 wins in 10 matches).

However, the tournament’s opener at the Stadio Olimpico served as an eye opener for the world. Fans around the globe were left surprised by Mancini’s attacking tactical scheme and the team’s ability to play possession-based football, as the Italians started their campaign with three unanswered goals against Turkey.

3- Netherlands vs. Italy (Nations League)

The UEFA Nations League is yet to be actually taken seriously by the fan of the sports – if that’s ever going to happen. Moreover, a slight 1-0 doesn’t mark the occasion as a true classic.

And yet, the Azzurri’s performance against the Netherlands away from home was an impressive one, and it took place at a time when Mancini was beginning to identify the group that he eventually relied on at Euro 2020.

2- Belgium vs. Italy (Euro 2020 Quarter Finals)

If there was any doubt left regarding the team’s ability to go all the way towards the final and lift the trophy, then the Italians surely raised it following a masterful performance against what was arguably the most terrifying team of the tournament, led by Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne.

Goals from Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Insigne gave Italy a well-deserved lead, and Lukaku’s penalty wasn’t enough to save Belgium who failed to cash in on their golden generation once again, as Giorgio Chiellini and company marched on with their incredible unbeaten run.

1- Italy vs. England (Euro 2020 Final)

Perhaps it wasn’t the best performance amongst the 36 matches, but finals are never meant to be pretty. Some shirt grabbing from Chiellini, a scrappy goal from Leonardo Bonucci, a little luck in the shootouts, and that’s all you need on a historic night in Wembley.

The English players were playing at home, and whether that was an advantage or a curse will remain a topic of debate, but the Italians gave their hearts out for 120 minutes and beyond, and this great triumph will forever remain the marquee moment of this historic run.

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