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Monday 23 October 2017

Germans do serious job on Italy

Germany's Jonas Hector and Italy's Lorenzo De Silvestri compete for the ball. Photo: Michaela Rehle/Reuters
Germany's Jonas Hector and Italy's Lorenzo De Silvestri compete for the ball. Photo: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

World champions Germany crushed Italy 4-1 in their friendly international to equal their biggest win against their opponents and recover from a surprise home loss to England as they put down a marker for the European Championship.

Goals from Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze and Jonas Hector in the first hour gave Italy no chance.

Mesut Ozil then converted a 75th-minute penalty after Sebastian Rudy was brought down. Stephan El Shaarawy pulled a goal back in the 84th to deny Germany their biggest win over their European rivals.

The result, however, equalled their previous best performance against Italy - another three-goal winning margin from their 5-2 victory in 1939.

Germany started exactly as they did against England on Saturday in Berlin, taking a 2-0 lead, with Thomas Mueller, captaining the side for the first time in his 70th international.

Germany blew that advantage against England to lose 3-2, but there was no repeat this time.

Sweden, buoyed by the return of captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, drew 1-1 with the Czech Republic in Stockholm as both sides continued their preparations.

The home side, looking to rebound after losing 2-1 to Turkey last week, took the lead in the 14th minute when Marcus Berg converted a cross with a first-time effort past Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.

The Czechs, who lost to Scotland 1-0 at home last week, levelled in the 26th minute through Matej Vydra's diving header.

Ireland's other Euro 2016 Group E opponents Belgium were beaten 2-1 in Portugal

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