A sublime effort from Federico Chiesa wasn’t enough for Italy to secure victory over Bulgaria during the week.
An equaliser from Bulgaria’s Atanas Iliev, who plays for Ascoli in Serie B, capped off a frustrating day at the office for the Azzurri, as they couldn’t make their chances count.
79% possession and 27 shots to their opponents’ four tells the full story, while Ciro Immobile had an effort cleared off the line, but it wasn’t meant to be for Roberto Mancini’s men.
Switzerland, on the other hand, still have a 100%-win record from their two qualifiers thus far, beating both Bulgaria (3-1) and Lithuania (1-0).
That could be a hard record to maintain this weekend though against the European Champions, especially since they lost to them 3-0 in their group game at that tournament just less than three months ago.
In fact, the only side that Murat Yakin’s men did overcome was a Turkey side that was on the whole extremely disappointing the whole competition, and they’ll need to be on the top of their game just to get a point out of this next match.
With that stalemate in Florence last time out the Italians extended their unbeaten run to 35 games, equalling Spain’s old European record.
That run includes 10 wins from their 11 unbeaten trips to opposition as over half of those saw fewer than three goals, while they conceded just twice.
Moreover, they’ve now leaked only four strikes across their last 16 outings over 90 minutes at all venues, working out at a goal conceded every 360 minutes.
However, each of those goals have come across their most recent four matches and perhaps the defensive fortress that they have built is starting to flag a little.
Correct Score 1-1
The Swiss unsurprisingly haven’t had it all their way since the 2018 World Cup against the current top eight sides in the FIFA World Rankings.
They’ve gone just W1-D2-L6 when playing such sides over that period, although on home turf that managed to beat Belgium 5-2 and have a goalless draw against England over 90 minutes.
Moreover, those two positive home results sandwiched a 3-3 stalemate hosting number 11 in the world Denmark, and they’ll still take some serious beating.
With all that in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised if this one ended 1-1. The previous friendly between these two outfits back in 2010 ended with that scoreline, while that was also the case in the visitors’ last outing against Bulgaria.
Furthermore, the Azzurri have now drawn four of their last five matches over 90 minutes.
CORRECT SCORE 1-1