Monchengladbach [Germany], June 15 (ANI): Germany recorded a first-ever competitive victory against Italy in considerable style to kick-start their UEFA Nations League campaign and leapfrog their opponents in Group A3 on Tuesday.
Hosts defeated European champions Italy 5-2 at Borussia Park. Germany, hoping to build on a run of four successive draws, started the brighter and could have taken the lead in the seventh minute but Leroy Sane’s curling effort from the edge of the box flew just wide.
Italy made nine changes from their last outing against England and almost broke through themselves a minute later, Manuel Neuer making a vital save from Giacomo Raspadori. Instead it was Germany who struck first, Joshua Kimmich coolly converting David Raum’s low centre from the left.
Germany looked the likelier to score the second goal of the game, Gianluigi Donnarumma making three saves as half-time approached. The Italy goalkeeper was beaten just before the interval, however, Ilkay Gundogan lofting his spot kick down the middle after Jonas Hofmann had been sent tumbling by Alessandro Bastoni.
The Azzurri started the second half purposefully, Bryan Cristante unable to cap a neat passing move, but any hopes of a comeback were effectively extinguished in the 51st minute, Thomas Muller’s half-volley flying just out of the reach of Donnarumma to open up a three-goal cushion.
The introduction of Serge Gnabry just after the hour indicated the home team were not going to let up and it was the Bayern forward who was instrumental in teeing up Timo Werner for two close-range finishes in as many minutes.One bright spot for Roberto Mancini’s men has been the recent emergence of Wilfried Gnonto, the 18-year-old tapping in his first international goal from close range after Neuer had spilled Dimarco’s fierce shot.
The latter was also involved in added time, delivering the corner from which Bastoni headed in Italy’s second, but Germany had already done more than enough.
Germany beat Italy in a competitive match for the first time at the 11th attempt. Die Mannschaft also scored four or more goals against Italy in a competitive fixture for the first time. Neuer won his 116th cap for Germany, putting him joint sixth with Philipp Lahm in the nation’s all-time appearance charts. (ANI)