Germany wastes chances in scrappy win over Czechs; Italy defeats Estonia

A new-look Germany side earned a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in a friendly on Wednesday but wasted a bagful of chances.

Action during a friendly between Germany and Czech Republic on Wednesday.   -  AP

A new-look Germany side earned a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in a friendly on Wednesday but wasted a bagful of chances and failed to impress as it prepare to face Ukraine and Spain in the Nations League.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, who rested key players ahead of the Nations League games, fielded a 3-4-3 formation with Philip Max and Ridle Baku earning their first caps and adding pace to the team in the first half.

The Germans, who face Ukraine in three days and Spain on November 17, took a deserved lead when Max cut back for Luca Waldschmidt to tap in after 13 minutes.

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They should have scored several more in a dominant first half, but Julian Brand, Baku and Nadiem Amiri squandered good chances.

The Germans also remained wobbly at the back just as they had been in their previous five games in which they conceded nine goals.

Germany had led in three of those matches only to concede equalisers in each and Loew saw his players again step off the gas after the break.

The Czechs got more possession while Florian Neuhaus rattled the post with a powerful shot in a rare chance for Germany.

The hosts' Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, replacing Manuel Neuer, did have to come to his side's rescue to avoid another draw, sensationally palming a bouncing header from Matej Vydra wide eight minutes from time.

Italy's Vincenzo Grifo (right) celebrates against Estonia.   -  Getty Images


Grifo scores first goals as makeshift Italy beat Estonia

Vincenzo Grifo scored his first two international goals at the age of 27 to help a makeshift Italy side, missing coach Roberto Mancini due to a COVID-19 infection, to a 4-0 friendly win over Estonia.

Assistant coach Alberico Evani took charge of the side while Mancini passed instructions from his home in Rome where the 55-year-old is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

Italy, who extended their unbeaten run to 20 games, had called up a 41-man squad for the match and Nations Leagues games against Poland and Bosnia, using the game to give a run-out to less experienced players.

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Alessandro Bastoni was given his debut in the centre of defence while Grifo, born in Germany to Italian parents and who has spent his entire career in the Bundesliga, was handed his fourth cap.

“It was a game where we had everything to lose but we did what we needed to do,” Evani said. “We tried to play, but we learned a few things and there is an extraordinary human quality in this squad.”

The first goal came in style as Grifo scored with a half-volley from 25 metres which flew in off the foot of the post after 14 minutes.

Federico Bernardeschi, struggling for form at Juventus, cut inside and scored the second with a low shot inside the near post 13 minutes later.

Grifo converted a penalty in the 75th minute after a foul on Roberto Gagliardini before substitute Riccardo Orsolini won and converted another penalty in the 86th minute to make it two goals in as many international appearances.

Substitutes Wind, Bah score on debut as Denmark sink Sweden

Debutants Jonas Wind and Alexander Bah came off the bench to score as Denmark beat Sweden 2-0 in a friendly in Copenhagen with both sides fielding weakened teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several players were missing due to quarantine rules and neither coach attended the game. Sweden's Janne Andersson tested positive for the virus while Denmark's Kasper Hjulmand remained isolated in his hotel along with nine players after being in contact with an infected person.

The best chance of a pedestrian first half fell to Denmark's Kasper Dolberg, who stole in front of his marker in the 37th minute to connect with Christian Eriksen's cross but headed the ball just wide.

Dolberg was replaced at halftime by Wind, and the 21-year-old wasted a good chance before netting on the hour mark when he popped up at the far post to steer home Mathias Joergensen's deft flick from a corner.

With the Swedes struggling to create any decent chances, Bah was on hand to make it two in the 74th minute, firing the ball home to end an incisive move in the Swedish penalty area.

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