Italy thrashed Lithuania 5-0 to clinch first victory since Euro 2020 football matches triumph, extending their unbeaten run to 37 despite the back-to-back draw heading to the win. Last summer, Italy won the virus-hit European Championship for the first time since 1968 as goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two penalties to end England’s dream of their first-ever Euro. Follow us for more
Young strikers Moise Kean and Giacomo Raspadori fired their impressive goals to clinch the win after settling for frustrating draws against Bulgaria and Switzerland in their previous two qualifiers “It was important to have won this game with young players, who played very well, especially in the first half,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. Follow us for more Euro 2020 hosting never before highlights.
Kean scored twice before Edgaras Utku’s own goal and a strike from Raspadori, making his first start for his country. It was the first time Italy had scored four in the opening 30 minutes of an international match. Giovanni Di Lorenzo also scored his first goal for Italy, early in the second half. The young players had started because of a number of absentees, including Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne.
“If they do what they need to do, work seriously, work hard, remain organized on the field, then they have a great future. But it depends on them,” Mancini added. Italy remained atop Group C and extended its advantage to six points ahead of second-place Switzerland, which has played two matches fewer. Also in Group C, Northern Ireland draw 0-0 at home to Switzerland.
Last week, Mancini’s Italy sets a new world record as they shared spoils against Switzerland in a 2022 World Cup qualifier match, extending their unbeaten run of matches to 36. Earlier, the Euro 2020 champions broke the the previous 35-match record jointly held by Brazil (1993-96) and Spain (2007-09), when they drew 1-1 with Bulgaria.
Italy’s last defeat came on September 10, 2018, in the group stage of the UEFA Nations League in 2018 against Portugal that was followed by a draw in a friendly against Ukraine 1-1. Since then, Italy have won 29 matches – of which two were on penalties – and drawn six. However, Italy’s unbeaten run is still some way short of the all-time football record as the US women went 51 unbeaten from 2004 to 2007.
European runner-up England, on the other hand, was forced to settle for a draw in Poland. The group winners will automatically reach next year’s finals in Qatar, with the runners-up heading into 12-team, two-round playoffs bracket in March.
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