An inexperienced Italy side held Germany to a 1-1 draw on Saturday

An inexperienced Italy side held Germany to a 1-1 draw on Saturday

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04 Jun 2022
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Gnonto

The introduction of Wilfried Gnonto proved a turning point in what had been a turgid clash up to the second half.

Gnonto made an instant impression during the match

An inexperienced Italy side held Germany to a 1-1 draw on Saturday to mark an encouraging start to the Azzurri’s UEFA Nations League campaign. Lorenzo Pellegrini broke the deadlock after 70 minutes for the hosts with one of the first real chances for either side at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. Germany were soon back in the encounter, with Joshua Kimmich levelling with a close-range finish to earn his side a share of the points in the Group A3 opener. The introduction of Wilfried Gnonto proved a turning point in what had been a turgid clash up to the second half. The 18-year-old FC Zurich forward made an instant impression when his cross found Pellegrini unmarked in the box to open the scoring six minutes into his debut.

Italy and Germany share second place in Group A3 after one game

Gnonto, previously a member of Inter’s academy before joining Zurich in 2020, enjoyed a fine season in Switzerland, recording eight goals and three assists in 33 league games to help his side to the title. He was just one of a host of new faces to feature for Italy as coach Roberto Mancini looks to the future following the disappointment of failing to make the World Cup. Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi also made his debut in midfield, while veterans Leonardo Bonucci, Ciro Insigne, Jorginho and Marco Verratti were all omitted from Mancini’s team after Wednesday’s 3-0 Finalissima defeat to Argentina. Saturday’s draw means Italy and Germany share second place in Group A3 after one game, while Hungary lead thanks to their 1-0 victory over England. The Azzurri host the leaders in their next match on Tuesday, while Germany take on England.

Just one side will advance from the first round, with the last-placed team set to be relegated to League B once the groups come to an end in September.

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