Inexperienced Italy side hold Germany in Nations League
Germany needed a Joshua Kimmich equaliser as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with a much-changed Italy team in the UEFA Nations League in Bologna on Saturday.
Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini gave the European champions the lead 20 minutes from time at the Renato Dall’Ara stadium only for Kimmich to strike at the other end shortly after.
The stalemate in League A, Group 3 came after England suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat away in Hungary in the same section earlier on Saturday.
Germany play England in Munich on Tuesday while Italy — looking to move on following their failure to qualify for the World Cup — host Hungary before travelling to face Gareth Southgate’s side in Wolverhampton next weekend.
Roberto Mancini’s team had already been in England on Wednesday, losing 3-0 to Argentina at Wembley in the first Finalissima, the encounter between the European champions and the winners of the Copa America.
Italy’s line-up here showed 10 changes from that game, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the only player to keep his place in Mancini’s starting XI.
“We were playing against a great team and we matched them,” Mancini, who handed debuts to several players, told broadcaster RAI.
“We have good young players so I am playing them and hopefully they will improve together.”
Davide Frattesi was among those brought into the side as the 22-year-old Sassuolo midfielder made his debut.
His Sassuolo teammate Gianluca Scamacca, who had come off the bench against Argentina, came closest to opening the scoring in the first half against Germany as he struck the post with a low drive from range 10 minutes before the interval.
Serge Gnabry blazed over at the other end and it took the second-half introduction of a teenage debutant for the hosts to really bring the game to life.
The 18-year-old Wilfried Gnonto was sent on in the 65th minute in place of Matteo Politano and five minutes later he whipped in a superb ball from the right for Pellegrini to finish first-time.
Gnonto left Inter Milan last year to join FC Zurich and scored eight times as they won this season’s Swiss title.
However Germany were back level in the 73rd minute as the home defence failed to clear Jonas Hofmann’s ball into the middle and Bayern Munich playmaker Kimmich fired in.
Only some alert goalkeeping from Donnarumma kept Italy on level terms after that and the Paris Saint-Germain shotstopper finished the game in some discomfort and requiring treatment for an apparent hand injury.