Inexperienced Italian side hold Germany in Nations League


Joshua Kimmich scored the equalizer for Germany in their 1-1 draw with Italy in Bologna in the Nations League on Saturday © AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA

Bologna (Italy) (AFP), June 4 – Germany needed a Joshua Kimmich equalizer as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with a very different Italian side in the UEFA Nations League in Bologna on Saturday.

Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini put the European champions ahead 20 minutes from time at the Renato Dall’Ara Stadium, but Kimmich struck in the other side shortly after.

The League A, Group 3 stalemate came after England suffered a surprise 1-0 away loss to Hungary in the same section earlier on Saturday.

Germany face England in Munich on Tuesday while Italy – who are looking to move on after failing to qualify for the World Cup – host Hungary before visiting Gareth Southgate’s side at Wolverhampton next weekend.

Roberto Mancini’s side were already in England on Wednesday, losing 3-0 to Argentina at Wembley in the inaugural Finalissima, the encounter between the European champions and the Copa America winners.

The Italian outfit have shown 10 changes from this fixture, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the only player to retain his place in Mancini’s starting XI.

“We were playing against a great team and we matched them,” Mancini, who made his multi-player debut, told RAI.

“We have good young players, so I play them and hope they improve together.”

Davide Frattesi was among those signed when the 22-year-old Sassuolo midfielder made his debut.

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His Sassuolo team-mate Gianluca Scamacca, who came off the bench against Argentina, came closest to opening the scoring in the first half against Germany when he hit the post with a low shot at 10 minutes of the break.

Serge Gnabry blazed 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.

Wilfried Gnonto, 18, was sent on in the 65th minute in place of Matteo Politano and five minutes later sent a superb ball from the right for Pellegrini to finish for the first time.

Gnonto left Inter Milan last year to join FC Zurich and scored eight times in winning the Swiss title this season.

However, Germany were back level in the 73rd minute as the home defense failed to clear Jonas Hofmann’s ball in the middle and Bayern Munich playmaker Kimmich fired a shot.

Only a few alert Donnarumma goalkeepers kept Italy level after that and the Paris Saint-Germain keeper ended the game in some discomfort and required treatment for an apparent hand injury.

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