An inexperienced Italy began their rebuilding job with an impressive home draw with Germany in a Nations League opener for both sides.
Having failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, Italy opted to test out numerous raw players.
One of them, 18-year-old substitute Wilfried Gnonto, set up Lorenzo Pellegrini for a 70th-minute goal.
Germany levelled immediately, with Joshua Kimmich firing in to make it 10 games unbeaten under Hansi Flick.
Germany’s next game in Group A3 is a home match against England, who were beaten 1-0 in Hungary earlier on Saturday. Italy host the Hungarians, with both games on 7 June.
It has been a chastening few months for European champions Italy but, from the wreckage of their shock failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, green shoots are beginning to break through.
The side fielded against Germany was shorn of almost all the names recognisable to the majority of fans outside Italy, with 23-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the most experienced player with 44 caps.
But in Inter Milan defender Alessandro Bastoni and Sassuolo pair Davide Frattesi and Gianluca Scamacca they have raw gems to polish.
The display was far from fluent, especially in an understandably nervy opening 10 minutes, but full of endeavour from a group that grew into the contest and even had the temerity to take the lead.
The source of their opener was livewire teenage forward Gnonto. He began his career at Inter Milan, impressed Roberto Mancini with his displays at FC Zurich in Switzerland last season, and lifted the crowd with his direct run and fine cross for Pellegrini to poke in.
Had the lead lasted longer than three minutes, Italy could well have been celebrating victory, but their inexperience showed as they switched off in the aftermath of their goal and allowed a wily German side to respond.
Jonas Hoffman’s cross fell to Kimmich in the box and he could not miss.
Flick is unlikely to have learned anything he did not already know about his established side, but he will have been pleased to witness their ability to dig deep when needed to get a result.
For Germany it is all about fine-tuning for Qatar. For Italy it is about seeing beyond the end of this year and to major tournament qualification campaigns to come. This was a decent start.
- 1G Donnarumma
- 7FlorenziBooked at 62mins
- 23BastoniBooked at 80mins
- 3BiraghiSubstituted forDimarcoat 80′minutes
- 21FrattesiSubstituted forRicciat 86′minutes
- 8TonaliBooked at 66minsSubstituted forPobegaat 80′minutes
- 17PolitanoSubstituted forGnontoat 65′minutes
- 9ScamaccaSubstituted forCancellieriat 85′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 10PellegriniBooked at 51mins
- 5Ramos Marchi
- 17HenrichsSubstituted forHofmannat 59′minutes
- 5KehrerBooked at 62mins
- 8GoretzkaSubstituted forGündoganat 69′minutes
- 10GnabrySubstituted forRaumat 80′minutes
- 13MüllerSubstituted forHavertzat 70′minutesBooked at 83mins
- 19SanéSubstituted forMusialaat 59′minutes
- 9WernerBooked at 89mins
Match ends, Italy 1, Germany 1.
Second Half ends, Italy 1, Germany 1.
Matteo Cancellieri (Italy) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Tommaso Pobega.
Corner, Italy. Conceded by Niklas Süle.
Foul by Ilkay Gündogan (Germany).
Degnand Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jamal Musiala (Germany).
Samuele Ricci (Italy) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Niklas Süle (Germany).
Degnand Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jonas Hofmann (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tommaso Pobega (Italy).
Timo Werner (Germany) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Timo Werner (Germany).
Alessandro Bastoni (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Federico Dimarco (Italy) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Antonio Rüdiger (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Matteo Cancellieri (Italy).
Substitution, Italy. Samuele Ricci replaces Davide Frattesi.