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Germany 5-2 Italy: Euro champions humbled in Nations League rout
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Patric Ridge
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Germany humbled European champions Italy on Tuesday
Germany humbled European champions Italy on Tuesday

Germany claimed their first win of this Nations League campaign as they hammered Italy 5-2 in Monchengladbach.

Having drawn each of their previous three Group C matches 1-1, Hansi Flick's side were dominant at Borussia-Park, easily swatting the European champions aside.

Joshua Kimmich got things started in the 10th minute and Germany never looked back, with Thomas Muller netting early in the second half after Ilkay Gundogan had scored from the penalty spot.

Timo Werner's rapid double added further gloss to a mightily impressive victory, as Germany made a statement of intent despite consolations from Wilfried Gnonto and Alessandro Bastoni.

Germany had the bit between their teeth from the off, and although Giacomo Raspadori should have put Italy ahead against the run of play, the hosts had the lead when Kimmich found time in the area to take a touch and side-foot home.

Gianluigi Donnarumma might have done better for Kimmich's opener, but he could do little to prevent Gundogan doubling Germany's lead from 12 yards after Bastoni inexplicably shoved Jonas Hofmann on the stroke of half-time.

Donnarumma was fetching the ball out of his net again six minutes after the restart. A cross from the left caused havoc in Italy's defence, with Muller's snapshot on the rebound making it 3-0.

A remarkable Manuel Neuer save from Nicolo Barella was rendered meaningless by an offside flag, but a dismal display continued for his opposite number.

While Donnarumma would have been hard pushed to prevent Werner's first goal – a close-range effort from Serge Gnabry's cute lay-off – he was at fault for the striker's second a minute later, playing a dreadful pass that was intercepted by Gnabry, before being fooled by the subsequent finish.

Neuer gave Donnarumma a run for his money with an unusually weak save to gift Gnonto a maiden international goal, with Bastoni heading in a further consolation in stoppage time in a nevertheless humbling defeat for Italy.

What does it mean? Germany deservedly off the mark

It had been a frustrating campaign prior to Tuesday for Germany, who had shown flashes of true quality against Italy, England and Hungary but had failed to earn a victory. They now sit second in Group C behind Hungary, who lead the pool on seven points thanks to their shock 4-0 win over England, and Flick finally has a true idea of his side's quality as he builds towards Qatar.

That frustration was unleashed on Italy, who were truly woeful, conceding five goals in a single match for the first time since 1957.

Another landmark for Neuer

Captain Neuer marked a milestone appearance with an emphatic win. The Bayern Munich goalkeeper has now played 113 times for Germany, matching former club-mate Philipp Lahm as sixth on the all-time list for their country.

He made a brilliant save from a Federico Dimarco free-kick in stoppage time but will be disappointed that he did not do more to prevent either of Italy's goals.

Dismal Donnarumma needs a rest

Much is expected of Donnarumma, who was Italy's penalty shoot-out hero in the final of Euro 2020. Yet it has been a tough season for the goalkeeper, who has not truly established himself at Paris Saint-Germain.

Indeed, he made a torrid mistake in PSG's famous collapse against Real Madrid in the Champions League in March, with a gaffe with the ball at his feet costing the French side in that tie. He repeated that mistake for Germany's fifth goal and was beaten far too easily by Kimmich and Werner, while he was also off balance for Muller's strike. He finished with four stops, but that only gave him a save rate of 44.4 per cent.

What's next?

The top two sides in Group C meet in September when Germany host Hungary, while Italy go up against England.


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