Germany ended a 21-year wait for a win over Italy as they scored two goals in each half to record a resounding 4-1 triumph in Munich on Tuesday.
Having thrown away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to England on Saturday, Joachim Low’s side bounced back in style to end a seven-match winless streak against their opponents.
Toni Kroos scored his second international goal in as many matches when his right-footed attempt from just outside the area broke the deadlock in the 24th minute.
Mario Gotze headed in his 17th goal for Germany on the stroke of half-time, while any fears the hosts might suffer another second-half collapse disappeared when full-back Jonas Hector broke his duck for the national team just before the hour mark.
Mesut Ozil made it 4-0 from the spot after Sebastian Rudy had been tripped inside the area by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, although the visitors had the last word with a consolation effort from Stephan El Shaarawy.
Italy – who had knocked their opponents out of Euro 2012 – arrived on German soil fresh from an impressive performance in a 1-1 draw with reigning European champions Spain on Thursday.
Their hopes of winning an international friendly for the first time since November 2014 were also boosted by the hosts being without goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Sami Khedira through illness and injury respectively.
However, Germany took the lead when Italy only partially cleared a low cross from the right wing.
The loose ball fell kindly just outside the area to Kroos, who steered a precise first-time shot beyond the diving Buffon and into the bottom right corner of the goal.
The veteran goalkeeper was able to deal with an effort from Thomas Muller soon after, tipping a curling shot over the crossbar, but could do nothing to prevent Gotze doubling Germany’s lead.
Muller sent over an early cross that allowed his Bayern Munich team-mate to get in between two defenders and steer home a header.
Italy had a chance to half the deficit early in the second half, but Riccardo Montolivo poked his rushed attempt wide to the left with only goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat.
Germany were not so wasteful on their first real attack of the second half, Julian Draxler breaking clear of a high defensive line before squaring the ball for Hector to sweep home with his left foot.
Buffon’s ill-timed tackle 15 minutes from time allowed Ozil to heap more misery on Italy, who saw defender Leonardo Bonucci carried off on a stretcher on his 50th international start.
They did at least get an 83rd-minute goal, substitute El Shaarawy firing off a quick shot that clipped defender Antonio Rudiger before reaching the back of the net.
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