Germany dismantled an inexperienced Italy team on matchday four of the 2022 UEFA Nations League, beating Gli Azzurri 5-2 at Borussia-Park.
Goals from Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan, Thomas Muller and a brace from Timo Werner were enough to secure a comfortable victory for Germany – a win that sees them move up to second in Group A3.
The first sight of goal of the game would fall to Leroy Sane, who fizzed a shot from outside the box just past the foot of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s left post after a quick counter attack,.
Moment’s later, Italy had an even better chance. A brilliant curling ball from the right flank was volleyed goalwards by Giacomo Raspadori, but his effort was well saved by veteran stopper Manuel Neuer.
In the tenth minute the breakthrough would come for Germany via Kimmich. The midfielder raced into the box late to latch onto David Raum’s ball from the left flank. After controlling expertly, the Bayern star coolly slotted past Donnarumma.
Germany really asserted their dominance thereafter in the first half, with the international experience in their ranks making the difference. Die Mannschaft were denied a second goal by Donnarumma on two occasions before the interval. The first save came after a sweeping move led by Sane culminated in Jonas Hofmann getting the ball on the right of the penalty area. The Italy number one got down well to save his shot on goal. Next up it was Werner who was stopped by the goalkeeper, who palmed his powerful strike out for a corner kick.
The home side eventually did get their second in added time at the end of the first half. Germany were awarded a penalty after Alessandro Bastoni clumsily push Hofmann to the floor on the right of the box – a penalty which was duly converted by Man City star Gundogan. The midfielder rifled the ball down the middle to make it 2-0 Germany.
A few half-time subs seemed to wake Italy up a bit at the start of the second half, as Bryan Cristante saw a well-struck effort from the edge of the box fly just wide of the post, before Giorgio Scalvini headed a corner kick wide moments later.
Just when the visitors had started to look capable of scoring a goal, Germany went up the other end and netter another themselves. The third would come from Muller, who hammered the ball past Donnarumma in the 50th minute.
Five minutes later, Neuer made one of the best saves of all time. Literally of all time. The German number one denied Barella a certain goal by diving backwards toward his goal line and scooping the ball clear just before it crossed the line.
In the 67th minute it was 4-0. This time it was Werner who got the goal, latching onto a first-time cross from Serge Gnabry to bag his 23rd at international level.
About 60 seconds later Germany made it 5-0 after Donnarumma gifted the ball to Gnabry on the edge of his own penalty area. The substitute squared the ball to Werner who side-footed into the net.
Italy managed to claw one back in the 77th minute, with 18-year-old Wilfried Gnonto scoring his first ever senior international goal – stealing in at the back post to convert a loose ball. They then clawed back another in added time, as Bastoni rose highest from a corner kick to make it 5-2.
GK – Manuel Neuer – 7/10 – Made a ridiculous save in the second half. Completely and utterly ridiculous.
RB – Lukas Klostermann – 6/10 – Got forward well.
CB – Niklas Sule – 7/10 – Really impressive on the ball. Hard to believe Bayern let him leave this summer.
CB – Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – He didn’t have a whole lot to do defensively, but was decent when coming out of defence with the ball.
LB – David Raum – 7/10 – Of interest to Man City, and you can see why. Set up the opener.
CM – Ilkay Gundogan – 8/10 – Quality in possession and converted a penalty kick.
CM – Joshua Kimmich – 9/10 – The best footballer on the pitch. Scored the opening goal and was generally just better than everyone else all evening.
RM – Jonas Hofmann – 7/10 – Proved a handful throughout. Forced Donnarumma into a good save in the first half and won a penalty.
AM – Thomas Muller – 8/10 – Your typical Muller game: tidy on the ball and scored a goal.
LM – Leroy Sane – 8/10 – A real live-wire for the German frontline.
ST – Timo Werner – 8/10 – Worked very hard up top and caused Italy’s defenders all sorts of problems.
SUB – Serge Gnabry – 7/10 – Came off the bench and set up two goals. Nice.
SUB – Jamal Musiala – N/A.
SUB – Lukas Nmecha – N/A.
SUB – Jonathan Tah – N/A.
SUB – Anton Stach – N/A.
GK – Gianluigi Donnarumma – 3/10 – Conceded a fair few goals tonight. One was very much his fault.
RB – Davide Calabria – 1/10 – Ran ragged by Sane. A night to forget for the Milan man.
CB – Gianluca Mancini – 2/10 – Definitely a few teething problems with this new-look Italy defence. Mancini’s struggles beside Bastoni are a key reason for them.
CB – Alessandro Bastoni – 3/10 – Struggled in a four. Looks much, much better in a three. Scored but it didn’t matter.
LB – Leandro Spinazzola – 4/10 – Honestly it’s just nice to see him back playing football.
CM – Davide Frattesi – 2/10 – Not ready to play against this level of opposition. Subbed off at half-time.
CM – Bryan Cristante – 3/10 – Gave it a go but, put simply, Gundogan and Kimmich are much better footballers than he’ll ever be.
CM – Nicolo Barella – 5/10 – Far and away Italy’s best outfield player…which isn’t saying much…but still.
RW – Matteo Politano – N/A – He did absolutely nothing. Nothing. Subbed off in the first half.
ST – Giacomo Raspadori – N/A – Way too small to battle against two German defenders as big as Sule and Rudiger on his own.
LW – Wilfried Gnonto – 5/10 – Didn’t see enough of the ball throughout but did managed to get his first Italy goal.
SUB – Luiz Felipe – 2/10 – His Italy debut was 5-1 defeat to Germany…not ideal.
SUB – Gianluca Caprari – N/A – He didn’t do anything.
SUB – Giorgio Scalvini – 4/10 – Looked confident.
SUB – Federico Dimarco – N/A.
SUB – Gianluca Scamacca – N/A.