Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller continued his search for form as Italy and Germany played out a 0-0 draw in Milan in an international friendly
Italy and Germany faced each other in Milan on Tuesday night in a friendly as the last fixture for both the nations in the present international break. The fixture started out with a very open look as both the teams opted to deploy 3 at the back.
A lot of chances were created in the first half but a lack of cutting edge was, perhaps, the main reason for both the nations heading into the break without a single goal.
Both the coaches rung in the changes at half-time, with the pick of those being Gigi Donnarumma replacing Gigi Buffon between the sticks. The game became a bit dull as time wore on with all the players seemed a bit weary. The match ended as it began, with a 0-0 scoreline, as The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the important talking points from the game.
Thomas Muller has really been having a tough time in front of goal. A master of the art that is finishing, the Bayern Munich academy graduate has found it really hard to get going this season. As if the forward’s struggles were not enough, the player was thrown into the spotlight for his comments post the San Marino game, which sparked a huge debate along with a rebuttal from San Marino’s side.
The reply has been hailed as an amazingly well-worded response to what was an unnecessary line of comments by the forward, in poor taste.
And it looks like Muller’s struggles seem far from ending. The player failed to find the net again, this time versus Italy and was genuinely lacklustre on Tuesday night. Muller has not scored in the Bundesliga in the 2016-17 campaign and given his current form, the streak looks far from being over.
In an otherwise dull game and a host of average individual performances, Italy striker Andrea Belotti stood out and set the pace on the pitch. The striker was, arguably the best player on the pitch and was unlucky to have not been rewarded with a goal for his efforts.
— Vince Van Genechten (@VVGenechten) November 15, 2016
The player who is attracting serious interest from the Premier League, especially Arsenal and West Ham, was praised on social media for the outing against Germany and came close to earning a penalty for his side when he was brought down in the box after a fighting run.
The 22-year-old has really been on-point this season with 8 goals in the league already and Belotti, along with Ljajic, has been one of the main reasons for Torino’s form. And the player does not seem like stopping anytime soon.
Germany face backlash of San Marino incident as crowd boos national anthem
Germany, especially, Thomas Muller, have come under the scanner for the comments made in the aftermath of their demolition of minnows San Marino. Muller and some other eminent German footballing personalities, stated that San Marino had no place in professional football, something which has caused a lot of backlash.
The German national anthem being roundly booed in Milan – the Italian players lead applause in response #ITAGER
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) November 15, 2016
And as the players lined up for the German national anthem, a round of boos rang around the stadium, which, as construed by many could, directly be because of the San Marino comments. Italian players tried to salvage the situation by clapping, which some construed as an attempt to calm the crowd down and diffuse the tension.
While Belotti stole the show overall, Manchester City’s midfield maestro Ilkay Gundogan was almost equally impressive on Tuesday night. The former Borussia Dortmund ace displayed an array of skills – give-and-go, one touch slick passing, through balls and attacking runs inside the box past the Italian defence.
The midfielder, barring a brief moment wherein he was nutmegged by Rugani, looked assured on the ball throughout and would be satisfied with his performance.
— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) November 15, 2016
After a string of injuries that has halted the player’s progress before his move to Manchester City, Gundogan has been lively in the Premier League and Guardiola would be elated at seeing the player carry his club form to the country level while hoping he continues to do the same at the club.
Positive signs for Italy
The match may have ended up in a 0-0 draw but Italy had many positives to take from the result. The Azzurri gave their German counterparts a hard time in Milan and were, perhaps, unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Belotti was brought down inside the box.
— Italy (@azzurri) November 15, 2016
Daniele De Rossi also echoed the same words in the aftermath of the 0-0 result, stating that the Italians went toe-to-toe with the World Champions, which should be taken positively, while also throwing his support behind present manager Ventura. The manager has so far had some decent results and it is only a matter of time before he gets his mix of youth and experience right.