Two of the favourites for next year’s World Cup, Italy and Germany, meet in a friendly in Milan on Friday.
The pair cruised through their qualifying campaign’s to seal their places in Rio next year and each will get an early insight into each other’s abilities in the San Siro.
While both side will be keen to gain an early advantage on each other ahead of any potential knock out meeting, Germany will also be out to end their Italian hoodoo.
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Joachim Low’s side have not beaten Italy since 1995, losing four and drawing two of the six meetings between the pair.
Surprisingly Germany have also never beaten Italy in a major tournament, with their most recent meeting on the big stage, the semi-final of Euro 2012, ending with a 2-1 win for the Azzurri.
Given their poor record, Low, celebrating his 100th game in charge of the German’s could be forgiven for choosing such difficult opponents, however the manage believes such games will stand his side in good stead next summer.
“Italy are tactically world class, and the national team still plays at a high level,” he said. “The Italians are characterised by their cleverness and efficiency.
“To play against this team was our desire, because we can only evolve if we face strong opponents.”
The German’s will head into the game without defender Per Mertesaker. The giant defender misses out through illness but is set to return for the game with England.
Strike duo Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez are also out of the game due to injury, but Mesut Ozil (virus) has been passed fit.
Low looks set to start with Mario Gotze and Borussia Moenchengladbach striker Max Kruse in the absence of Klose and Gomez, given the manager a good chance to assess the strength of his squad.
“It is part of our job to build up players who can fill gaps,” he added.
“Obviously, it is a pity that Mario and Miro are out but I do not see a problem. For me, January is the cut-off date.
“If a player starts the New Year normally after completing winter training and then plays through then I am certain he will join us in good form.”
Italian manager Cesare Prandelli is using the game as an opportunity to trim down his side ahead of the World Cup.
“There are places available,” he said. “Many players are motivated, they want to prove that they can be a part of such a group. I have in my mind 35 players so nothing is definite.
“I have a precise idea of what type of football I want the team to play.
“Seeing as I am not able to work with the team a lot on the pitch, I’ve had to use official games to understand this. During the games, there will be various interpretations but our reference module will be that of four midfielders.”