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Italy's incredible 37 game unbeaten run has come to an abrupt end following their 2-1 loss to Spain in tonight's UEFA Nations League Semi-Final at the San Siro.
Roberto Mancini's side had a disastrous first half, with a brace from Manchester City star Ferran Torres either side of a Leonardo Bonucci red card putting 'La Roga' in cruise control.
Two goals and a man down, the Azzurri could only find a consolation seven minutes from time and were comfortably beaten in the end, a loss that knocks them out of the competition and topples their stunning series of games without defeat.
Prior to tonight's match, the Euro 2020 winners had surpassed Brazil's 36-match unbeaten run between 1993 and 1996 following a 2-0 win against Lithuania in early September. Italy's feat also eclipses that of the iconic Spanish team of 2007 to 2009 and Algeria, who haven't lost in 29 matches since 2018.
In addition to lifting silverware and reaching tonight's semi-final, Italy's achievement has also produced some of the most impressive statistics in the history of international football. In those 37 games, the four-time World Cup winners scored 93 goals and conceded just 12, one of which being Luke Shaw's opener on that fateful evening at Wembley in July.
This achievement is enhanced by the fact that just six of those matches have been friendlies.
"There isn't just one way to win. It's not just playing well. Of course, if we can win by playing well and being entertaining, that's even better. There are plenty of ways to win. [The perception of the Italy team] has changed, but we can't forget that Italy is a country that has won four World Cups. [We] are the European champions and have a significant history."
Whilst Italy will have to go back to the drawing board after tonight's loss, they are blessed by a squad of exciting young players, including goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and Federico Chiesa, who are more than likely to lead a similar charge in years to come. Mancini believes the pair can only get better moving forwards.
"[Gianluigi Donnarumma] started to play very young," he continued. "He has great qualities. He is improving year after year in order to be considered the best goalkeeper [in the world]. Of course, we were very lucky to have him as our goalkeeper during EURO 2020.
"I also think that Federico [Chiesa] can still develop more. He is getting better on so many levels. He has good physical and technical abilities. He has to grow mentally, to find stability."
Whilst Italy adjust to the concept of losing, Spain will turn their attention to the final of the Nations League on Sunday, where they will face either Belgium or France.
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