x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Lippi makes it 31 not out as Brazil show class

Italy coach Marcello Lippi equalled the world record of 31 successive international games without defeat when his side drew 1-1 with Greece.

Italy's Alberto Gilardino jostles with Greece's Sokratis Papstathopoulous.
Italy's Alberto Gilardino jostles with Greece's Sokratis Papstathopoulous.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi equalled the world record of 31 successive international games without defeat when his side drew 1-1 with Greece. Lippi, who has reached the mark over two stints with Italy, also beat the Italian record of 30 set by Vittorio Pozzo between 1935 and 1939. His first spell in charge ran from 2004 to 2006 when he led Italy to victory in the World Cup in Germany. He was reappointed this year after Italy's poor performance at Euro 2008 under Roberto Donadoni.

"This is something that will from now on accompany me in every game," said Lippi. "It is something that gives me pleasure but what makes me happiest in this streak of good results is something very important, a World Cup. "The unbeaten streak in itself is meaningless without that important victory." Fanis Gekas put Greece ahead in the 50th minute but Luca Toni equalised five minutes later to secure the draw that took Lippi level with Javier Clemente of Spain and Alfio Basile of Argentina.

Hat-trick hero Luis Fabiano said Brazil's 6-2 victory over Portugal should silence the national team's critics. The Sevilla striker netted a treble while Maicon, Elano and Adriano also found the back of the net to complete an impressive friendly triumph in Brasilia. "I think that from now on all Brazilians have to forget the critics and support this team," he said. "We played very good football. This is the right way."

Dany had given Portugal a fourth-minute lead before Brazil took control. Simao also netted in the disappointing defeat, for which boss Carlos Queiroz took responsibility, saying: "All the squad are very frustrated, but we are very united and know we can recover." * With agencies