After throwing away a two-goal lead against England, Germany will be aiming to get their Euro 2016 preparations back on track when taking on Italy at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday. Despite goals from Toni Kroos and Mario Gomez in Berlin on Saturday, Germany conspired to throw away their advantage, conceding three goals in the final 30 minutes to lose, 3-2.
Germany now face another opponent that will be aiming to contend in France this summer, but one that has caused them plenty of heartache through the years. Germany have won just seven of their 32 matches against Italy, losing in two World Cup semifinals and the 1982 final. It was also Italy that ended Germany’s hopes in the last European Championship, with a 2-1 win in the 2012 semifinals. Unsurprisingly, then, midfielder Sami Khedira, who plays in Italy with Juventus, has brushed off any suggestion that motivation will be an issue in Tuesday’s friendly.
“Italy will be a very special game,” he said in a press conference ahead of the match. “Germany against Italy are always big games. We want to use these two matches, and had we won against England then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. We played well for 45-60 minutes, but ultimately we fell short. We are determined to win against Italy. We also intend to put in a top performance, and there are plenty of players who still want to prove themselves.”
Khedira captained Germany against England in the absence of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who suffered a knee injury ahead of the match that has put his place at Euro 2016 at risk. Khedira himself is now a doubt for the clash with Italy after missing their final training session on Monday. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has already left the squad after suffering from a stomach illness.
In contrast to Germany, Italy will be coming into the game on the back of a morale-boosting effort against the defending European champions Spain last Friday. The Azzurri, runners-up to Spain in Euro 2012, took the lead in Udine through Lorenzo Insigne. And, while Spain grabbed a quick equalizer, there was still much encouragement to be taken from the quality and positivity of their performance.
The showing also helped ease the question marks over whether Conte could still be an effective leader having announced he will be leaving his job after this summer’s finals. The former Juventus boss is set, though, to have to make at least one change to his lineup on Tuesday.
The man who set up Insigne’s goal, Emanuele Giaccherini, is likely to miss out in Munich, having been forced to come off with an injury against Spain. Roma’s Alessandro Florenz could well be his replacement with Conte expected to stick with the 3-4-3 formation that proved such a success last time out. And there could be full debuts given to Juventus’ young winger Federico Bernadeschi and Napoli’s Brazilian-born midfielder Jorginho.
Both Italy and Germany topped their groups in qualification for Euro 2016, and after Tuesday’s encounter will just have one more friendly, at the end of May, before they will have to submit their final squad to UEFA.
Kickoff Time: 2:45 p.m. EDT
TV Channel: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: Watch ESPN