5:2 against Italy as a “milestone” for the German team

5:2 against Italy as a "milestone" for the German team

Et is sometimes irritating how radically such a single game can turn the atmosphere in a football team and its environment into the opposite. In the course of the previous series of four 1-1 draws, more and more gloomy thoughts about the national team’s renewal project had recently come to the fore, it had been criticized and quite fundamentally doubted.

After the 5: 2 (2: 0) against Italy said captain Manuel Neuer now full of confidence from a “milestone” with “meaningfulness”. A La Ola circled through the stadium and the audience sang: “Oh, how beautiful that is.” In terms of atmosphere, this evening formed a stark contrast to the embarrassed, self-doubting mood that had arisen in the course of the Nations League tournament so far.

This benefit for well-being, which everyone involved can now enjoy during their summer holidays, is probably even more important than the five goals and three points. “We didn’t do everything perfectly, but we don’t want to talk about that today,” said Flick, who didn’t want to spoil the good mood with any critical thoughts. “It was a real stress test for all of us. Victories are good for self-confidence and for self-image.” But the national coach will certainly not be fooled by this success against the weak and unimaginative Italians.

The first tournament victory against Italy

It almost seemed as if there was a touch of self-mockery in his words when he pointed out the historical dimension of this five-to-two: “It was the first win in a tournament against Italy,” he said. Germany has suffered multiple unforgotten defeats in World Cup semi-finals and in a final against Italy in 1982 over the past decades, and the success in the penalty shoot-out of the 2016 European Championship quarter-finals is recorded as a draw in the statistics. Flick had to smile a little at the thought that such a Nations League evening should have ended this gigantic series.

But this bon mot for statisticians was just one detail in the colorful overall picture of the joy that the team offered at the end of the first year after the era with Joachim Löw: the stadium in Mönchengladbach was sold out, for the first time in this decade Germany has another great football nation defeated and the national coach Flick has not lost a single game. But the most important thing is that the team played good football and after goals from Joshua Kimmich (10th), Ilkay Gündogan (45th) and Thomas Müller (51) clearly led early on. Germany played “a bit more risky” again, said Müller, who was part of a well-harmonized midfield with Gündogan and Kimmich.

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