World champions Germany delivered a statement of intent to their UEFA EURO 2016 rivals on Tuesday by beating Italy 4-1 in an impressive display at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
Boasting five changes from the side which lost narrowly to England in Berlin on Saturday, Germany began slowly against a typically deep-lying Italian defence. VfL Wolfsburg midfielder Julian Draxler tested Gianluigi Buffon in the 12th-minute, but it took a well-placed finish from Toni Kroos from the edge of the box 12 minutes later to break the deadlock. The opener was enough to spark the world champions into life, with Thomas Müller and Draxler both threatening, before an excellent header from Mario Götze on the stroke of half-time deservedly doubled the hosts’ advantage.
After a quiet start to the second period, Joachim Löw's side added to the lead shortly before the hour mark, 1. FC Köln defender Jonas Hector finishing calmly for his first international goal after a brilliant piece of link-up play between Götze and Draxler on the edge of the area left the Italian defence chasing shadows. At the other end, Simone Zaza fired a good chance over shortly afterwards, but Mesut Özil converted from the spot 15 minutes from time after Sebastian Rudy had been brought down to put the seal on an impressive win for Germany that Stephan El Shaarawy's late consolation strike did little to spoil.
Man of the Match
Playing as a false nine with support from Müller and Draxler, Götze burst into life with his fine finish before the break on his 50th international appearance. Putting his indifferent club form to one side, the FC Bayern München attacker then played a key role in Germany’s third, his wonderful touch opening up the space for Draxler to tee up Hector.
Germany: ter Stegen - Rüdiger, Mustafi, Hummels, Hector (Ginter, 85’) -Rudy, Kroos (Kramer 90') – Müller (Can, 69’), Özil, Draxler (Volland, 85’) – Götze (Reus, 61’)
Head coach: Joachim Löw
Italy: Buffon - Acerbi, Bonucci (Ranocchia, 61’), Darmian – Giaccherini (El Shaarawy, 69’), Montolivo, Motta (Parolo, 68’), Florenzi (De Silvestri, 63’) – Insigne (Okaka, 68’), Zaza (Antonelli, 78’), Bernardeschi
Head coach: Antonio Conte