Italy vs Germany: Kimmich wipes Pelle-grin-i off Azzurri faces
Germany went 10 games unbeaten after a 1-1 draw with reigning European champions Italy in their 2022/23 UEFA Nations League opener.
Roberto Mancini’s side came into the match after a bruising 3-0 Finalissima defeat to Argentina, and Hansi Flick’s team were smelling blood in a bright start to the match. Serge Gnabry was allowed to weave his way into the box, but shot straight at Gianluigi Donnarumma, while Timo Werner picked out Thomas Müller in a central position, only to see his effort superbly blocked by Alessandro Florenzi. The ‘Azzurri’ improved as the half wore on, and Gianluca Scamacca was inches away from breaking the deadlock when his attempt cannoned off the post with Manuel Neuer at full stretch. The passing and movement from ‘Die Mannschaft’ was something to behold, only to be let down by their finishing, as Gnabry blasted his attempt over the bar after being teed up by Leon Goretzka. Mancini’s men came out in the second half with renewed vigour, and Scamacca was at the heart of everything going forward for Italy. The Sassuolo man saw a header go narrowly wide of the target, before an acrobatic attempt was saved by Neuer. Matteo Politano was next to test the water when he was allowed to drift in off the right flank and sent a left-footed strike just past the far post. The hosts looked to the bench to add fresh attacking impetus, and they got that through Wilfried Gnonto. The 18-year-old marked his senior debut with a sublime assist, as he drove down the right and played the ball into the path of Lorenzo Pellegrini to tap home. His and Italy’s joy was short-lived though, as Flick’s side hit back through Joshua Kimmich. Jonas Hofmann took advantage of some sloppy ‘Azzurri’ defending, and his pass eventually found its way to the Bayern Munich man to fire home just three minutes later. This performance from a youthful Italian side showed some promise, but the defensive vulnerabilities here mean Mancini is rightly concerned when he says some “difficult moments” lie ahead. They are back in action again against Hungary on Tuesday, while Germany host England on the same day.
|Friday, 23 September 2022|
|20:45 | Olympia Stadium, Berlin|
|20:45 | Stadio Olimpico, Rome|
|Monday, 26 September 2022|
|20:45 | Wembley, London|
|20:45 | Groupama Arena, Budapest|
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