World Cup Qualifiers: Italy held by Bulgaria, but Azzurri equal Spain and Brazil record

by | Sep 2, 2021 22:26

European champions Italy were held to a 1-1 draw by Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifier, but the Azzurri equalled Spain and Brazil’s unbeaten run record.

Roberto Mancini picked almost the same line-up as the UEFA Euro 2020 Final, with Alessandro Florenzi and Francesco Acerbi among the new faces. Captain Giorgio Chiellini was rested, so he will be able to start against Switzerland on Sunday.

Italy had a great start. Lorenzo Insigne fired wide from a tight angle, but the Azzurri put their noses ahead after just 16 minutes with Federico Chiesa, who cut down the right flank, skipped past a couple of defenders and fired home from the edge of the box after a one-two pass with Ciro Immobile.

The Azzurri seemed in control of the game, Ciro Immobile had a good chance from inside the box, but Bulgarian goalkeeper Georgiev made the first of many saves with Chiesa, who arrived too early to steer the ball into the net. With just five minutes before the break, Bulgaria levelled the scores with their first shot on target.

Kiril Despodov found it very easy to dribble past Florenzi on the left flank, put the ball in and find Atanas Iliev, who cut in front of Acerbi to score an unexpected equaliser. Italy dominated the second half, creating several opportunities to score. Immobile rounded Georgiev, but all he could get was a corner kick as he carried the ball wide and could only try to go for the goal from a tight angle.

Nicolò Barella collected another corner kick with a deflected shot from the edge of the box. Georgiev produced the save of the night on Federico Chiesa, who tried to score with a chip shot, but the Bulgarian goalkeeper showed cat-like reflexes. He denied Immobile once again before Giacomo Raspadori replaced the Lazio striker.

Italy pushed forward to score the winner, but Bulgaria didn’t let the Azzurri find a way through. The Azzurri are now unbeaten in 35 games and have equalled Spain and Brazil’s record. Switzerland are coming up next with the Azzurri travelling to Basel on Sunday.


  1. Mike

    Not good now they need to take 4 points off swiss

  2. Mike

    Not good now they need to take 4 points off swiss . here who go again

  3. House Party

    You’d fancy Italy to take (at least) 4 points off of Switzerland though! If they’d played poorly tonight, then I’d be concerned but reading the match report it sounds like a bit of a fluke(and good goalkeeping) was the only reason that Italy didn’t win. They do need to be more clinical in time for the next WC but they have more than enough firepower to get there + for them to be in trouble you’d have to presume that the Swiss will win all their games in hand too. I won’t underestimate them, they’re a good side, but I just think Italy are better!

  4. SE

    Bittersweet way to equal record with such a flat performance at home and a disappointing draw. Will have to play with much more quality, penetrations and ‘end product” if they would like to break unbeaten run record against Switzerland. If they play like tonight, they are at risk of losing unbeaten run. Need to be defensively more alert as it was a poor, sloppy goal conceded against Bulgaria tonight which did not help. Poor performance by the European champions. They need to improve quickly and play with more quality.

  5. Roy

    I don’t think Azzurri played bad just 2 matches into the season.. Bulgaria deserve respect. Their Goalie was superb. But if Locatelli is not in squad for not playin much then why is Florenzi being selectd?? He was so poor. Though Berardi hasn’t played at all he looked good when he came on. Why Locatelli was not in squad at all?? Pellegrini who is in excellent form should have been brought on earlier.

    What is dissapointing is Azzurri not having scored a Freekick Goal for more than 8yrs .. last one was I think Pirlo’s against Mexico in Confed Cup 2013! Anyways very tough match up next .. hope they are more clinical and solid and get the 3 points!

    No need for Negativity though . Just 2 matchs into the new season .. it was a good Test going into the Switz match. Mancini will sort things out .. Switz won’t park the bus like Bulgaria so more spaces upfront .. just no stupid mistakes at back and b more clinical.

    Why Locatelli was not in squad?? Next match Pellegrini should start or atleast brought in much earlier. Verratti holds on to the ball a lot. Florenzi should be replaced .. but will Calabria be started in crucial match having not played much at this level?? Anyways .. Come on Ragazzi .. Forza Azzurri 🇮🇹👍👊💙🍀

  6. Frankie

    I would rather see Italy play with a false 9 than see Immobile back in this team. The other option is replacing Immobile with Kean. I can’t believe for a professional footballer, playing in Serie A, how bad Immobile’s touch is – it is truly awful and is the cause of many failed attacks. I also don’t think that Verratti’s position should be a given. Holds on to the ball too much and does not create as much as he should and is not a goalscoring mid like Barella, Locatelli, Pellegrini or Pessina are.
    In defence, it’s time that Bastoni is given ample game time – he is already better than Acerbi, faster, more clinical in his tackles and can play the ball out well. And please, no Florenzi or Di Lorenzo at rightback – has to be Calabria.

  7. martinn

    Chiesa world class as aslways.

  8. serie a lover

    immobile going always need 4 or 5 chances to score. no only that after watching the euros it is clear that the attack is more fluid without immobile in it . time to give raspadori and kean a chance

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