Kimmich levelled for Germany just three minutes after Italy had taken the lead
An inexperienced Italy began their rebuilding job with an impressive home draw with Germany in a Nations League opener for both sides.
Having failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, Italy opted to test out numerous raw players.
One of them, 18-year-old substitute Wilfried Gnonto, set up Lorenzo Pellegrini for a 70th-minute goal.
Germany levelled immediately, with Joshua Kimmich firing in to make it 10 games unbeaten under Hansi Flick.
Germany’s next game in Group A3 is a home match against England, who were beaten 1-0 in Hungary earlier on Saturday. Italy host the Hungarians, with both games on 7 June.
It has been a chastening few months for European champions Italy but, from the wreckage of their shock failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, green shoots are beginning to break through.
The side fielded against Germany was shorn of almost all the names recognisable to the majority of fans outside Italy, with 23-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the most experienced player with 44 caps.
But in Inter Milan defender Alessandro Bastoni and Sassuolo pair Davide Frattesi and Gianluca Scamacca they have raw gems to polish.
The display was far from fluent, especially in an understandably nervy opening 10 minutes, but full of endeavour from a group that grew into the contest and even had the temerity to take the lead.
The source of their opener was livewire teenage forward Gnonto. He began his career at Inter Milan, impressed Roberto Mancini with his displays at FC Zurich in Switzerland last season, and lifted the crowd with his direct run and fine cross for Pellegrini to poke in.
Had the lead lasted longer than three minutes, Italy could well have been celebrating victory, but their inexperience showed as they switched off in the aftermath of their goal and allowed a wily German side to respond.
Jonas Hoffman’s cross fell to Kimmich in the box and he could not miss.
Flick is unlikely to have learned anything he did not already know about his established side, but he will have been pleased to witness their ability to dig deep when needed to get a result.
For Germany it is all about fine-tuning for Qatar. For Italy it is about seeing beyond the end of this year and to major tournament qualification campaigns to come. This was a decent start.
- Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text
- 1G Donnarumma7FlorenziBooked at 62mins15Acerbi23BastoniBooked at 80mins3BiraghiSubstituted forDimarcoat 80’minutes21FrattesiSubstituted forRicciat 86’minutes16Cristante8TonaliBooked at 66minsSubstituted forPobegaat 80’minutes17PolitanoSubstituted forGnontoat 65’minutes9ScamaccaSubstituted forCancellieriat 85’minutesBooked at 90mins10PellegriniBooked at 51mins
- 2Calabria4Pobega5Ramos Marchi6Ricci11Gnonto12Cragno13Dimarco14Meret18Barella19Mancini20Cancellieri22Raspadori
- 1Neuer17HenrichsSubstituted forHofmannat 59’minutes15Süle2Rüdiger5KehrerBooked at 62mins6Kimmich8GoretzkaSubstituted forGündoganat 69’minutes10GnabrySubstituted forRaumat 80’minutes13MüllerSubstituted forHavertzat 70’minutesBooked at 83mins19SanéSubstituted forMusialaat 59’minutes9WernerBooked at 89mins
Referee:Srdjan JovanovicMatch StatsHome TeamItalyAway TeamGermanyPossessionHome33%Away67%ShotsHome11Away12Shots on TargetHome2Away4CornersHome3Away3FoulsHome12Away17Live TextPost update
Match ends, Italy 1, Germany 1.
Second Half ends, Italy 1, Germany 1.
Matteo Cancellieri (Italy) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Tommaso Pobega.
Corner, Italy. Conceded by Niklas Süle.
Foul by Ilkay Gündogan (Germany).
Degnand Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jamal Musiala (Germany).
Samuele Ricci (Italy) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Niklas Süle (Germany).
Degnand Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jonas Hofmann (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tommaso Pobega (Italy).
Timo Werner (Germany) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Timo Werner (Germany).
Alessandro Bastoni (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Federico Dimarco (Italy) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Antonio Rüdiger (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Matteo Cancellieri (Italy).
Substitution, Italy. Samuele Ricci replaces Davide Frattesi.
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