Germany held to draw against archrivals Italy in Milan | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 15.11.2013
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Germany held to draw against archrivals Italy in Milan

Germany have drawn 1-1 against Italy in the sides' friendly match at the San Siro stadium in Milan. Joachim Löw's men were out to avenge their Euro 2012 semifinal loss, but it ultimately was not to be.

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Germany's Khedira struck by injury

Germany's 2-0 loss in the semifinals of Euro 2012 was fresh in their minds when they took on Italy Friday. The Italians have a history of making things tough for Germany in big matches and their latest matchup was a chance to get on back on the Azzuri.

Joachim Löw took the opportunity of his 100th match in charge of the national team to make some interesting changes in his lineup. Injuries to regulars like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez gave the Germany head coach the opportunity to experiment.

Captain Philipp Lahm took his recent transformation from right back to holding midfielder at Bayern Munich to the international level, starting alongside Sami Khedira in the middle of the pitch. Up front, Mario Götze revived his "false-nine" role, playing in front of the attacking trio of Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos and Andre Schürrle.

Early goals

Germany jumped out to an early lead in the eighth minute when Mats Hummels got on the end of a Kroos corner. His header sneaked by Gianluigi Buffon to hit the side post and rolled in.

Germany's defender Mats Hummels (R) celebrates with Germany's midfielder Andre Schurrle after scoring during the FIFA World Cup friendly football match Italy vs Germany on November 15, 2013 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN

Hummels' early goal was canceled out 20 minutes later

Unfortunately for Hummels, he helped undo his early good work when his short clearance near the sideline rolled right to Iganzio Abate. The Milan right back cut in and played a one-two with Leonardo Bonucci in the box before firing low past Manuel Neuer to make it 1-1.

The two sides went into the locker room even. The second half brought much less of the attacking excitement seen in the opening 45 minutes, but there was still plenty of drama.

Germany were unlucky to lose Khedira to a knee injury in the 67th minute after he collided with Andrea Pirlo. The Real Madrid midfielder went down in what appeared to be serious pain, which was later confirmed as a long-term knee injury that puts him in doubt for the World Cup. Sven Bender came on to replace him.

Around the 80th minute, a rough tackle from Kroos on Thiago Motta led to a team scuffle that while initially heated, was as usual more bark than bite. During the bust-up Motta was given a yellow card for putting his finger in the face of Kroos.

Germany miss winner

The greatest opportunity for Germany to grab a winner came in the 92nd minute. Benedikt Höwedes' shot from inside the box hit the left post and bounced towards a pack of German players, but not a single one of them managed to put the ball into the empty Italian net. It would end up being the final bit of action for the evening, with 1-1 the final result.

Germany woes continue against Italy - a team against which they never quite seem to be able to muster their best.

"You saw that both teams wanted to win the match," Kroos told broadcaster ZDF after the final whistle. "In the first half we were the dominant team."

"I am happy with how the match went on the whole. We had an aggressive attacking performance and performed well defensively," said Löw. "It was clear to us beforehand that against the Italians it's not a friendly and that it sometimes gets tough."

A second friendly against England in London's Wembley Stadium awaits the Germans on Tuesday. They will hope for a better result against another one of their historic rivals.

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