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Germany frustrated by Italy again in 1-1 draw

Italy's Ignazio Abate (R) celebrates after scoring against Germany during their international friendly soccer match at the San Siro Stadium
Italy's Ignazio Abate (R) celebrates after scoring against Germany during their international friendly soccer match at the San Siro Stadium

By Terry Daley

(Reuters) - Germany hit the woodwork three times as they were held to a fiery 1-1 draw by old rivals Italy on Friday in a friendly which saw coach Joachim Loew celebrate his 100th match in charge.

Ignazio Abate grabbed his first international goal for Italy with a brilliant left-foot shot following a smart one-two with Leonardo Bonucci after Mats Hummels had headed the visitors in front early on at Milan's San Siro.

The result extended Germany's winless run against Italy to seven games, including elimination at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012. Germany's last win in the fixture was 2-0 in a friendly in 1995.

The game, involving two of the heavyweight contenders for the World Cup in Brazil in June, was peppered with tough tackles and Germany midfielder Sami Khedira had to be carried off with a knee injury in the second half after a rash challenge.

Thiago Motta and Toni Kroos were also lucky to stay on the field after the latter kicked out at the Italian who responded by slapping the German.

Loew's side hit the woodwork through Khedira in the 17th minute, Andre Schuerrle just after the half-hour and Benedikt Hoewedes in the dying seconds.

"I'm happy the way the game went overall," said Loew, who replaced Juergen Klinsmann after the 2006 World Cup and has a record of 68 wins, 17 draws and 15 defeats.

"We delivered a good, aggressive performance and played well defensively," added Loew, who recently renewed his contract until 2016.

Germany took the lead against the run of play in the eighth minute when Hummels beat Andrea Barzagli in the air to squeeze the ball between keeper Gianluigi Buffon and the post.

They could have doubled the lead twice in the next 10 minutes, with Hummels almost heading home a replica second and Khedira crashing a low drive against the post which almost rebounded into the net off Buffon.

Hummels then gifted the ball to the opposition and Abate swapped passes with Bonucci before firing past keeper Manuel Neuer.

"I'm glad to have helped us get something from a game in which I think we played some good stuff," said Abate, who turned 27 on Tuesday. "We struggled a bit at times, but when it comes to personality and courage we're there."

"We played well. They play without a proper striker so it took us a while to understand how they played. But once we worked out how to get at them we did some good things," said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.

"We had one of the best teams in the world in front of us tonight. If you think we can dominate a team like Germany all night then you're off the mark. You're going to struggle against a team like that for periods, but we reacted well."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez and Brian Homewood)

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