Germany played host to Italy on Tuesday night determined to bounce back from a disappointing 3-2 defeat to England last week which put Joachim Low’s charges under huge pressure amidst the team’s Euro 2016 preparations.
Die Mannschaft rose to the occasion and got back to being their usual selves as they displayed a fantastic performance against otherwise respectable Italy in one of Europe’s greatest classics.
Four goals in the net were more than what Gianluigi Buffon had bargained for, as Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze, Jonas Hector and Mesut Ozil struck to earn their team an impressive win against the Azzuri.
Antonio Conte’s men managed to restore some of the lost pride thanks to Stephan El Saarawy’s goal in the closing stages of the match, but Italy will be eager to put tonight’s performance behind them as soon as possible.
Following back-to-back defeats to France and England, Joachim Low’s men have recovered in a remarkable fashion, completing a feat in the process.
Namely, Germany have tonight finally managed to end the 21-year long wait for a triumph over Italy.
It was a winless run that dated back seven encounters, and Germans snapped it in style with a dominant display against Italy, who were expected to show more following their huge 1-1 draw against Spain last week.
Antonio Conte’s men lacked flair, composure, dynamics and agility in a one-way traffic for most of the proceedings.
Italy failed to win an international friendly since November 2014 and will have left their manager with plenty of questions unanswered ahead of the final preparations for this year’s European Championship in France.
Going hard from the off, the hosts tried to beat the Italian veteran goalkeeper in several occasions through Hector, Muller and Draxler and the Azzurri legend of 156 international caps for Italy held on pretty well until the 24th minute of the match.
Thomas Muller sent a low cross from the right-hand side, but the Italians managed to clear it only as far as for Kroos to latch on the ball for a shot from 20 yards out and fire a precise shot past the helpless Buffon.
It was Kroos’ goal in the second consecutive appearance for Germany which only sparked another set of waves from the home side. However, it wasn’t until the final minute of the first period that Germany were able to capitalize on their dominance.
Thomas Muller was once again the orchestrator as Bayern Munich striker sent a lofted cross towards Italy’s back post which found Gotze who nodded home into the far corner of Buffon’s goal.
It would have been interesting to hear what Italy’s departing manager Antonio Conte had to say to his lifeless players in the locker room, but Italy emerged a more attack-oriented side for the second half of the game.
Italy had a good chance to get back in the game after only three minutes of play after the interval when Riccardo Montolivo got inside the Germany area and into a fine goalscoring opportunity, but his shot from all of eight yards went well wide off target.
Low’s men recovered quickly and punished Italy for the miss just a minute shy of the hour mark.
Julian Draxler weaved his way through Italian opposition, exchanged passes with Gotze and simply rolled the ball to Hector who was left unguarded for an easy precise shot from close range to make it 3-0.
It went from bad to worse for helpless Italians, who were nothing like the team which stood up to Spain only a couple of days ago. With 15 minutes from time Italy made an unbelievable mistake leaving Gianluigi Buffon with no other choice but to bring down Sebastian Rudy within his area.
Mesut Ozil took the responsibility from the white spot and the Arsenal playmaker fired a precise shot sending Buffon to one side and the ball to another for a comprehensive result of 4-0.
Italy’s substitute Stephan El Shaarawy made sure Azzurri went home with a little of their pride restored as he saw his deflected shot fly in the net of Rudiger’s leg for a consolation goal and the final score of 4-1.
It did little, however, to hide the terrible performance from Antonio Conte’s team who were never in the game on Tuesday and who looked a completely broken unit against the inspired Germans.
GERMANY: Ter Stegen 6.5 – Rudiger 6.5, Hummels 7, Mustafi 7, Hector 7.5 (Ginter 6.5) – Rudy 7, Kroos 8 (Kramer 6) – Muller 7 (Can 6), Ozil 7.5, Draxler 7.5 (Volland 6) – Gotze 7.5 (Reus 6.5).
Unused subs: Bellarabi, Gomez, Khedira, Leno, Podolski, Schurrle, Tah, Trapp.
ITALY: Buffon 6 – Darmian 6, Bonucci 6 (Ranocchia 5.5), Acerbi 6 – Florenzi 6 (De Silvestri 6), Motta 7 (Parolo 6), Montolivo 6.5, Giaccherini 6 (El Shaarawy 7) – Bernardeschi 6.5, Zaza 6 (Antonelli), Insigne 6 (Okaka 6.5).
Unused subs: Astori, Candreva, Eder, De Sciglio, Jorginho, Pelle, Perin, Rugani, Sirigu, Soriano.
REFEREE: Oliver Drachta