Italy’s slow start to life since winning Euro 2020 continued as they followed their 1-1 draw at home to Bulgaria with a goalless draw in Basel.
Roberto Mancini’s side had their chances early on against a Switzerland side that with key figures missing through injury and COVID and new management bedding in needed time to settle into the game. Their slow start should have been punished, not least by Domenico Berardi. One on one with the Swiss goalkeeper he somehow contrived to roll the ball at his arms.
That was rather the story of the match, Italy — who set a record with their 36th match in a row without defeat — getting themselves into good positions but not really testing Yann Sommer, a shot stopper who proved at Euro 2020 that he only lets the best shots go beyond him. There were not many of them from the European champions.
Lorenzo Insigne curled wide just after the hour from the sort of spot on the left edge of the penalty area where he so often pings the ball in at the far post. As the half wore on, however, Switzerland settled into the game and Manuel Akanji’s header from a set piece flew wide in what might have been a decisive moment for the home team.
Italy’s profligacy continued into the second period when a pair of errors by Ricardo Rodriguez in quick succession went unpunished. First the left back miscued his clearance then made matters worse by diving in to bring down Berardi. Sommer ensured his teammates clumsy defending went unpunished, letting Jorginho try his hop and skip from the penalty spot but refusing to commit until the Chelsea midfielder tamely rolled a shot to his left.
The next Group C games are on Wednesday, with Italy hosting winless Lithuania and Switzerland travelling to face the side placed third in the group, Northern Ireland.