NEWS
Tuesday March 29 2016
Italy embarrassed in Germany

Italy were thumped 4-1 by Germany in an embarrassing friendly, their first loss in 21 years, with Leonardo Bonucci stretchered off.

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The Azzurri were fresh from an impressive 1-1 draw with Spain and continued testing the 3-4-3 system, though Federico Bernardeschi got his first senior Italy start. Sami Khedira was in the stands due to a muscular problem and Manuel Neuer ill.

Germany have never beaten the Azzurri in a competitive encounter, managing only four draws from eight attempts. The last friendly win had been in June 1995, followed by four losses and three stalemates.

Matteo Darmian made a decisive intervention to stop Thomas Muller going clear, then Gigi Buffon smothered a Julian Draxler shot at the near post.

Germany broke the deadlock when Leo Bonucci’s poor clearance fell straight to Toni Kroos, who did not hesitate to drill low into the near bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Buffon palmed a Muller curler out from under the bar and nobody was on the end of Julian Draxler’s ball across the six-yard line after Thiago Motta was caught in possession.

Insigne’s volley was over and Simone Zaza was penalised for harassing Marc-Andre Ter Stegen during a clearance. The main issue seemed to be the slow midfield movement, which also gave little protection to the back three.

Germany doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time, as Mario Gotze didn’t even have to jump in order to nod in a Muller cross from six yards.

After the restart Insigne gave Montolivo an inspired assist, but the Milan veteran sent his angled drive wide of the far post.

Insigne had a shot charged down, but poor defending was costly again when Bonucci slipped – injuring himself in the process – so Gotze and Draxler combined for unmarked Jonas Hector to comfortably beat Buffon.

Bonucci was stretchered off with a suspected groin problem, a worrying sight for Serie A leaders Juventus.

Things managed to get even worse, as Buffon tripped Rudy when he was dribbling his way towards the empty net and was spared a red card by the referee in this friendly occasion. Mesut Ozil converted the penalty for 4-0.

Andrea Ranocchia volleyed a Bernardeschi free kick wide at the far post and Italy did get a consolation when Stephan El Shaarawy’s shot from the D took a big deflection off his Roma teammate Rudiger to loop over Ter Stegen.

El Shaarawy also tried to set up Stefano Okaka, but the angled drive was too timid to beat the goalkeeper.

Germany 4-1 Italy

Scorers: Kroos 23 (G), Gotze 45 (G), Hector 59 (G), Ozil pen 75 (G), El Shaarawy 82 (I)

Germany: Ter Stegen; Rüdiger, Mustafi, Hummels, Hector (Ginter 85); Kroos (Kramer 90), Rudy; Götze (Reus 61), Özil, Draxler (Volland 85); Müller (Can 69)

Italy: Buffon; Darmian, Bonucci (Ranocchia 61), Acerbi; Florenzi (De Silvestri 63), Thiago Motta (Parolo 69), Montolivo, Giaccherini (El Shaarawy 69); Bernardeschi, Zaza (Antonelli 78), Insigne (Okaka 68)

Ref: Drachta (AUS)