Against all the odds Italy sets a record for the longest unbeaten run-in international games
The history makers, Italy have now gone 36 games unbeaten after a goalless draw against Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier.
Under Roberto Mancini, Italy has now gone 36-games without a loss breaking Spain and Brazil's unbeaten run of 35 matches.
Italy has done quite well in World Cup qualifiers and are top of their group with 10 points, Mancini’s men will now host struggling Lithuania before the international break concludes.
Italy has come a long way, from failing to secure a berth in the 2018 World Cup to winning the Euro 2020. And the man behind Italy’s success should get plenty of credits.
Roberto Mancini who took over the helms of Italy led the nation which had no determination in competing on big stages. It took Mancini only two years to transform Italy into one of the powerhouses of international football.
Rise from the ashes under Roberto Mancini
Mancini took charge of the Italian national team in 2018 when they couldn’t secure a spot in the 2018 World Cup, it was the first time Italy had not qualified for a tournament since the 1958 FIFA World Cup.
During that time Italy had hit the rock bottom, and Mancini was the only manager who could redeem a wounded team. Mancini had two years before Euros 2020, transform Italy into a competitive team which he did in a style.
After the World Cup failure, the fans chanted "Forza Azzurri!" which means (“come on the blues”) which also means "strength."
Not only for the Azzurri, but it was a recovery phase for Mancini as well, as he wanted to banish his international failure as a player. Albeit having a successful club career firing 168 goals in 566 games for Serie A side Sampdoria from 1982 to 1997.
Mancini never had an underwhelming International career with Italy, as he managed to play only 36 games and was an unused substitute at Italy, his relationship with Italy was appalling.
After becoming the Azzurri’s manager, Mancini had a chance to exorcise the ghosts of the past, which he did with no hesitation and fired them to Euro 2020 glory for the first time since 1968.
How it unfolded under Roberto Mancini
In 2018 Roberto Mancini penned down a new 2 years deal with Azzurri. Mancini's men qualified for the Euro 2020 after ousting Greece 2-0. His tactical sage kept Italy's 36 consecutive games unbeaten.
His preferred 4-3-3 formation allowed players to play with more freedom and offered midfielders to use more creativity, giving the front three more space and support.
The defensive pair of Bonucci and Chiellini boasted a robust pairing, and the young veteran goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma delivered a phenomenal display at the Euro 2020, he conceded only 3 goals and played a key role in penalty shootouts against Spain and England.
Mancini’s faith in youth players delivered profound results the likes of Chiesa whose goals against Austria and Spain were a testimony to it.
Giving everyone a chance, Italy were the first team to qualify for the knockout stages as they triumphed in the opening two games against Turkey and Switzerland.
In the game against Wales, Mancini used all his substitutes, Bryan Cristante, Giacomo Raspadori, Gaetano Castrovilli, and reserve goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. He also called Francesco Acerbi, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2014 and became a drug addict.
This shows how the former Italian International forged a healthy atmosphere and had a great relationship with every player in the dressing room, the team's cohesiveness under Mancini tasted much-awaited success.
Next stop: FIFA World Cup 2022
Mancini’s men have now played 36 games without tasting a defeat, after a goalless draw against Switzerland. They broke Spain and Brazil's 35-matches unbeaten record.
Italy now prepares for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar. We will get to witness another masterclass of the gaffer in one of the biggest competitions of FIFA.