Champion of the Euro Cup, Italy returns to the field this Thursday, at 15:45 (GMT), to face Bulgaria in the World Cup qualifiers. But that is not all. In addition to the three points being at stake in this 4th round, the Italians are playing to equal Brazil and Spain as owners of the world record for the unbeaten record in the history of men’s football by national teams.
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Italy has 34 unbeaten games, the last one being against England, which earned the Euro title. The leaders of this post are Brazil, between 1993 and 1996, and Spain, between 2007 and 2009, with 35 unbeaten matches. Argentina (1991-1993) with 32 and Hungary (1950-1954) with 31 complete the Top-5.
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- Brazil (1993-1996) and Spain (2007-2009): 35 games
- Italy (2018-to date): 34 games
- Argentina (1991-1993): 32 games
- Hungary (1950-1954): 31 games
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Italy arrives in the World Cup qualifiers to continue with good form. The Italians are unbeaten in the three games played in the competition and are hoping for another victory, but not counting the injured striker Andrea Belotti. The good news is the return of Nicolo Zaniolo, recovered from injury, after several months away.
With a renewed contract, coach Roberto Mancini called up 34 players, 25 of which participated in the victorious campaign in the continental competition. The only one absent is left-back Leonardo Spinazolla, who is still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.
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Among those called up are three Italian-Brazilians: defender Rafael Tolói, left-back Emerson Palmieri and defensive midfielder Jorginho, chosen as the best player of the last European season by Uefa.
The athletes will play three matches for group C of the European Qualifiers for the World Cup, against Bulgaria, on September 2, in Florence; Switzerland, on the 5th, in Basel; and Lithuania, on the 8th, in Reggio Emilia.
Bulgaria, who failed to qualify for the Euro Cup, has not yet won in these Qualifiers. There were three games played with two defeats and a draw for the Bulgarians, who have not managed a victory since November 2020.
- Date and time: 09/02/2021, at 3:45 pm (Brasilia)
- Location: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence (ITA)
- Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (HOL)
- Assistants: Joost van Zuilen (HOL) and Johan Balder (HOL)
- Where to watch: TNT Sports
ITALY (Coach: Roberto Mancini): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Chiellini, Bonucci and Emerson; Jorginho, Verratti and Barella; Chiesa, Insigne and Immobile.
BULGARIA (Coach: Yasen Petrov): Mihaylov; Karagaren, Hristov, Antov, Bozhikov and Nedyalkov; Malinov, Kostadinov and Chochev; Despodov and Delev.