Lippi's Italy break record
© AFP

Italy coach Marcello Lippi on Wednesday broke Vittorio Pozzo's record of 30 consecutive matches without defeat as the Italians came away from Karaiskaki Stadium with a hard fought 1-1 draw against Greece.

The reigning world champions needed a goal from 31-year-old Bayern Munich striker Luca Toni to force the draw when in the 54th minute he headed home after a perfect free kick from teammate Daniele De Rossi.

Four minutes earlier the Greeks had taken a 1-0 lead when second half substitute Fanis Gekas scored from up close after taking a pass from Alexandros Tziolis who cleverly split the Italian defense. It was the first time that Greece had scored against Italy since 1981.

With both teams using a number of new players, the match had very few outstanding moments and failed to excite the small crowd of 8,000. The few times that the visitors had scoring opportunities they were swept away by Panathinaikos' keeper Alexandros Tzorvas who was making his debut.

In the first half, the Italians had an ideal chance to open the scoring when 21-year-old Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi missed from up close in the ninth minute after a mix-up in the Greek defence.

A shot by Rossi in the 45th minute from just outside the penalty area had Tzorvas making a diving save. Italy had a final chance to claim victory in the 58th minute when a shot by Mauro Camoranesi was tipped away by Tzorvas.