Gala Display in Munich as Die Mannschaft thrash lethargic Italy

After Saturday’s turnaround defeat against England, all eyes are on the German team as they take on old rivals and fellow four-time World Cup winners Italy at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Despite it being a friendly, the home side will be looking to get their Euro finals preparations back on track.

There are five changes to the German starting eleven, and a new formation. Barcelona ‘keeper Marc-André ter Stegen take the place of the absent Manual Neuer, and ahead of him there are five at the back including what looks a central Dreierkette and two wing-backs rather than the standard back four.

Antonio Rüdiger occupies the left-back slot while Shkodren Mustafi is back in the middle, and Mats Hummels – fit to start after departing at half-time against England provides the necessary experience. Jonas Hector is pushed up into the left wingback position, while Sebastian Rudy comes in on the right flank.

In the absence of the weekend’s skipper Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos is joined by Mesut Özil as the defensive part of a four-man midfield unit sitting behind new skipper Thomas Müller and Julian Draxler – who comes in for Marco Reus. Up front, Mario Götze starts in the “false nine” position in place of Mario Gómez.

It is a slightly strange formation given the personnel: two wingbacks who will be looking to get behind the opposition defence doesn’t quite match up with the 5’ 9″ Götze.

It is a fine evening in the Bavarian capital as the players stand for the national anthems and a dedication to the late Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. The Mannschaft are back in their familiar white shirts and black shorts – though teamed with black socks – while the Italians are in their more than familiar blue-white-blue.

1 min. The visitors kick off.

2 mins. Lorenzo Insigne is tripped by Rüdiger some thirty yards out, but the free-kick is cleared by the men in white and black.

7 mins. Italy are making most of the early running, and win a corner when Mustafi is forced to put the ball behind. The corner is taken short, and nothing comes of it.

8 mins. There’s a sharp break by the home side, and Rudy plays the ball into the box towards Özil. There’s a deflection off a defender who makes good ground to meet the German number eight, and the ball goes behind for a corner which comes to nothing.

12 mins. Julian Draxler tests Gigi Buffon with a well-directed effort, and just moments later a cross from Hector into the Italian box is easily gathered by veteran ‘keeper.

10 mins. A great move from the Italians, but striker Federico Bernardeschi is well marshalled by the calm and collected Hummels who clears.

15 mins. Rudy is bundled over by Emanuele Giaccherini, who is shown the first yellow card of the evening. Kroos takes the free kick, but there’s too much power on the ball and it floats harmlessly into touch.

18 mins. There’s an ugly looking clash of heads between Rüdiger and Thiago Motta. The burly German defender is back up and Motta is looking a little groggy, but both men look fit to continue.

22 mins. As the first half reaches its half-way point, both sides looked to have settled down without taking too many risks. Italy are passing the ball nicely and finding some space, but the German defence is looking solid enough at this point.

24 mins. Calmly does it. Neither goalkeeper has been tested up to this point, but in a flash Germany have the ball in the back of the Italian net. Thomas Müller ventures down the right before sending the ball into the box, and Leonardo Bonucci’s clearance lands at the feet of Kroos. The Madrid man has plenty of time to line up his shot, and curls the ball smartly inside the diving Buffon and the base of the post with his right boot. 1-0.

Toni Kroos celebrates after giving Germany the lead

28 mins. The home side are upping the ante now, and the passing is suddenly looking a lot more crisp and confident. Kroos has another shot that comes off the defender, and as the Mannschaft recycle the attack Müller sends in another effort that is on target but easily tipped behind by Buffon. Inevitably, the resulting corner is rubbish.

30 mins. After a patchy opening twenty minutes the home side are starting to put some decent moves together. This time Thiago Motta is dispossessed by Götze, and the ball is released to Hector who excellent cross into the Italian penalty area cannot find white shirt.

31 mins. More quick approach play from Germany, and Götze finds Draxler whose slightly scuffed shot is easy for Buffon.

33 mins. Italy win a corner, but it is cleared easily.

34 mins. Rüdiger makes a galloping run into the Italian half, but clumsily loses control of the ball before conceding a free-kick.

36 mins. Having had little do to so far, ter Stegen makes a bit of meal of a harmless back pass from Rüdiger, but is able to punt the ball away under pressure from Simone Zaza.

40 mins. Zaza looks to find space, but Mustafi more than has the measure of him.

43 mins. Italy are continuing to work hard and are looking to dink the ball into the German box, but the men in white look to have got their positioning just right. The Azzurri are looking insipid, and ter Stegen hasn’t even been tested.

45 mins. As half-time closes in the home side looks to set up a more patient attack. Gathering a lovely ball from Özil, Müller sends in a cute looping ball into the box that looks speculative at best, but somehow the diminutive Götze gets between his two taller markers to nod the ball to Buffon’s left. I take it all back about Götze playing the striker role – maybe Jogi knows more about the Italian defenders than we do. 2-0.

Mario Götze sneaks between two Italian defenders to double the Mannschaft’s advantage just before half-time

45+1 mins. The whistle blows for half-time.

Germany are two up, and well worth their lead against an Italian side that has been the polar opposite of England four days earlier. The men in blue looked uninspired and error-prone, and I fancy that there are more goals in this for Jogi’s Jungs.

46 mins. Germany start the second half.

48 mins. A poor clearance from the Germans, and as Italy send the ball back into the German box Riccardo Montolivo sends the ball wide under pressure from Hummels.

52 mins. Italy are looking a little brighter, but the German defence are maintaining their calm demeanour. Insigne looks to create something, but Hummels makes an excellent challenge and the men in white and black calmly walk the ball clear.

54 mins. Italy win a free kick deep in the German half and the delivery into the box is excellent, but Zaza’s header is badly misdirected.

57 mins
. Bernardeschi is chopped down by Hummels, who is shown the yellow card for the tactical foul. Italy are unable to make anything from the free-kick and Germany clear.

59 mins. Draxler powers through two blue shirts on the left, and plays a lovely one-two with Götze. The pass is perfect, and Draxler is now behind the Italian defence and able to find a white shirt in space in the middle of the Italian box. That man is Hector, who sweeps the ball home with his left foot to register his first international goal. 3-0.

Germany score their third, with Jonas Hector netting his first international goal

61 mins. Both sides make their first change. Götze makes way for Marco Reus, and for Italy, Bonucci – who looks to have twisted his ankle as he tried to challenge Draxler in the buildup to the German goal – is replaced by Andrea Ranocchia. Lorenzo de Silvestri is also on, replacing Alessandro Florenzi.

66 mins. Müller has a crack at goal from distance, but his shot flies wide of the target.

68 mins. Changes aplenty for Italy now. There’s three new men on the pitch as Stephano Okaka, Marco Parolo and Stephan El Shaarawy come on for Insigne, Thiago Motta and Giaccherini.

69 mins. Another change for the Mannschaft, with skipper Müller making way for Emre Can. The captain’s armband is passed to Mats Hummels.

73 mins. Germany are moving the ball around nicely now, and Kroos finds the roving Rudy who shapes to skip past Buffon. The Italian ‘keeper brings down the Hoffenheim man, and it’s an easy decision for the Austrian referee who points to the spot.

75 mins. After an initial distraction with the ball being not quite on the spot, Özil steps up to plant the ball into the left-hand corner of the net as Buffon dives the wrong way. 4-0.

4-0. Mesut Özil beats Buffon from the penalty spot

76 mins. Four goals up with less than fifteen minutes to play, it is safe to say that the long barren run against Italy – spanning almost twenty-one years – has come to and end. And how.

77 mins. Italy have a free-kick just outside the German box, and Ranocchia sends the ball wide from Bernardeschi’s excellent delivery. Mustafi is booked for the foul on El Shaarawy.

78 mins. Luca Antonelli replaces Zana for Antonio Conte’s side.

83 mins. Italy have a consolation goal. Reus is dispossessed in the Italian half and the men in blue break, and subs Okaka and El Shaarawy combine to put the Azzurri on the board. El Shaarawy’s shot from just outside the box takes a nasty deflection off Rüdiger, and ter Stegen is left helpless. 4-1.

85 mins. A double change for Germany. Matthias Ginter is on for Hector, and Kevin Volland replaces Draxler.

88 mins. A sloppy pass from Kroos is seized upon by the Italians. Okaka has a chance for a shot after being put into space by El Shaarawy, but his effort is badly underhit and easily gathered by ter Stegen.

89 mins. Italy are looking a completely different team after the late changes, with far more dynamism and pace up front.

90 mins. The last change for Jogi Löw’s men, with Christoph Kramer coming in for Kroos.

90+2 mins. The whistle blows for full-time.

A much more satisfactory display by the Mannschaft, even if Italy were as poor as England were full of enthusiasm and energy four days earlier. It is Germany’s biggest win against the Italians since a 5-2 victory in November 1939.

v Italy, Allianz Arena, München, 29.03.2016

4-1 (2-0)
Müller 24., Götze 45., Hector 59., Özil pen 75. / El Shaarawy 83.

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

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

Referee: Oliver Drachta (Austria)
Assistants: Roland Brandner (Austria), Stefan Kühr (Austria)
Fourth Official: Manuel Schüttengruber (Austria)

Yellow Cards: Giaccherini / Hummels, Mustafi
Red Cards: – / –

Ball Possession: 57% / 43%
Attempts on Target: 6 / 3
Attempts off Target: 3 / 9
Corners: 3 / 2
Fouls Committed: 12 / 10

Attendance: 62,653

Gala Display in Munich as Die Mannschaft thrash lethargic Italy
Tagged on:                                                                                                 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.