There was no winner in Munich between Germans and English, in group 3 of the League of Nations. A group that dominates Italy after their victory over Hungary.
In a great classic of world football, Germany and England were neutralized (1-1) in Munich on Tuesday, after an intense and often spectacular match in which Harry Kane scored his 50th goal in the squad. For England, in response to Jonas Hofmann’s (51st) opener, Kane’s goal from the penalty spot in the 87th minute will prevent a delicate hangover.
On Saturday, Hungary ended a record unbeaten run of 22 regular time games for the Three Lions, and a second consecutive loss would inevitably have been a bad one. Germany, for its part, remain unbeaten in 11 games since Hansi Flick came on the bench after the European Championship.
Compared to the team that came to a standstill against Italy (1-1), German coach Hansi Flick had replaced seven players, including attacking stars Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner. His counterpart Gareth Southgate made five substitutions after the defeat in Budapest (1-0), notably starting Raheem Sterling and leaving Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench.
Both teams clearly had an obligation to redeem themselves after their missteps on Saturday. And the game started at a hundred miles per hour, with a shot from Kai Havertz stopped in the first minute by Jordan Pickford and five minutes later a response from Harry Kane, this time stopped by Manuel Neuer. The tone was set and the pace never dropped.
Hofmann, dug up by coach Hansi Flick at Borussia Mönchengladbach, finally unlocked the counter in the 51st minute. Well served with his back to goal in Joshua Kimmich’s area, he turned and defeated Pickford with a tight shot (1-0).
The sequel was another tale of guards. Neuer saved his side at least twice, but Pickford took the opportunity and disheartened Thomas Müller (70th) and Timo Werner (75th) in succession, who came in as a joker.
A foul by Nico Schlotterbeck in the area on Harry Kane, confirmed at the very end of the match (88th) by VAR, gave the brilliant Englishman the chance to take a draw, which in the end pretty fair portrays the match.
Duel of teammates in Hungary
Italy, for its part, found colors and a forgotten enthusiasm to dominate Hungary (2-1), Tuesday in Cesena, during the 2nd day of the League of Nations, taking advantage of the fresh wind of some new faces such as Wilfried Gnonto.
The support in the stands from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and a rowdy colony of supporters was not enough for the Magyars to confirm their initial surprise victory over England (1-0).
Hungary’s Italian coach Marco Rossi, ex-partner of Azzurro coach Roberto Mancini in the 1990s at Sampdoria, had nevertheless renewed an almost identical team, with the only change being goalkeeper Denes Dibusz.
The latter headed a nice header on a header by Gianluca Mancini (21st) but could not do anything on Nicolo Barella’s fantastic shot into the skylight (30th). The goal rewarded a good first spell by Italians who had regained that freshness that had enabled them to shine at the European Championship, then disappeared during the disastrous qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.
First term for Gnonto
Against Germany (1-1) on Saturday, Roberto Mancini decided to open the doors wide by offering his first term in office to Gnonto, 18, three days after his tonic entry against Mannschaft.
The FC Zurich striker stood to the left of an attacking pocket trident, with Giacomo Raspadori and Matteo Politano, at the front of a team based on a solid core of Roma (Mancini, Cristante, Spinazzola and Pellegrini).
Paid choice as the Nazionale took the break just before half time. Pellegrini, too altruistic alone in front of goal two minutes earlier, made up for it by cutting off a central defender from Politano (45th). In the 60th, Gianluca Mancini ensured that Hungarian hopes were revived by netting a cross from Attila Fiola.
But with their renewed enthusiasm, Italy managed to defend their narrow lead. This convincing win certainly won’t get her back on the plane to Qatar, but it will give her some horizons and morale before challenging vengeful England on Saturday, a year after the Euro final.