10/05/2021 at 10:00 PM CEST
The Italian team, led by Roberto Mancini, starts as the big favorite in this Wednesday’s match at San Siro (8:45 p.m.). The ‘Squadra Azzurra’ arrives at the appointment with the world record of matches without losing (37) and without knowing the KO against Spain at home for more than 50 years. For the players of Luis Enrique Martínez the challenge is high. The European champion team is measured, a very solid and competitive team and, also, in their environment.
Italy reaches the semifinal of the Europa Nations League 2021 in top shape. At the very least, the statistics play in their favor and in a forceful way: he has not known defeat since 2018, when they fell to Portugal (1-0) in one of the 2019 UEFA Nations League playoffs. Since then, however, Italy has been a steamroller. He has played 37 games without bending the knee (28 wins and nine draws, in addition to adding 93 goals for and only 11 against).
This spectacular streak has led him to break the unbeaten record, in possession of Brazil and Spain with 35 consecutive games without losing. Spain failed to score number 36 by losing to the United States in the 2019 Confederations Cup semifinal.
Italy started the current streak in 2018 with a draw against Ukraine (1-1) and, since then, chain 37 matches without biting the dust: four in 2018, ten in 2019 (all victories), eight in 2020 and 15 in 2021. Of the 37 games, six correspond to friendlies, eight to the Nations League, 17 to the Eurocup (qualifying phase and final phase) and six to the preliminary phase of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
1971, last triumph in Italy
Another statistic plays against Spain and, like the previous one, conclusively. And it is to find the last triumph of the ‘Red’ on Italian soil we must go back to February 20, 1971, in Cagliari. That day, Spain, with the mythical Ladislao Kubala on the bench, beat Italy 1-2 in a friendly match. Since then, in seven games (five friendlies, one in the preliminary phase of the Eurocup and another in the preliminary phase of the World Cup), two defeats and five draws. The last, in October 2016, Spain pulled a 1-1 that, combined with the 3-0 at the Bernabéu, sent the Italians to the Russia 2018 play-off, which they did not overcome.