Julian Nagelsmann got off to a winning start as Germany’s coach on Saturday with his team securing a comfortable 3-1 win over the United States in a friendly.
Germany looked much improved from the team that had suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Japan last month, a result which saw Hansi Flick fired as coach after a run of five matches without a win.
The Euro 2024 hosts could ill-afford another surprise loss but they delivered a solid, well-rounded performance after recovering from a Christian Pulisic opener for the USA in the match at East Hartford, Connecticut.
Although Pascal Gross struck the post early on for Germany, who were missing midfielder Joshua Kimmich due to illness, the home side looked threatening with Pulisic and Tim Weah lively on the flanks.
Gio Reyna, who had gone through a bitter public row with coach Gregg Berhalter after the World Cup last year, returned to the starting lineup and provided some creative touches as the Americans started well.
Pulisic put the USA ahead in the 27th minute with a superb solo goal, cutting in from the left flank and then unleashing a fine drive into the far corner.
But that appeared to serve merely as a wake-up call for Germany with Ilkay Gundogan levelling in the 39th minute after good work from Leroy Sane.
Sane dribbled across the American defense, played a one-two with Gundogan and tried to go round American goalkeeper Matt Turner, who could only push the ball into the path of Gundogan, who had a simple conversion.
Germany went ahead in the 58th with center forward Niclas Fuellkrug slotting home after a perfectly weighted one-touch pass from Robin Gosens.
With the USA defense at disarray, Fuellkrug then set up the lively Jamal Musiala for a simple tap-in to make it 3-1 for the Euro 2024 hosts.
Sane should have made it four when he was set up nicely by Musiala, but the Bayern Munich winger fired his shot wide from a promising position.
Musiala’s speed and skill were major highlights of the performance from Germany with Gundogan, as always, calm and intelligent in the center of midfield.
“Against a good team with a lot of speed, we took a very good step in terms of football,” said 36-year-old Nagelsmann, who felt his team had been too rushed in the opening 45 minutes.
“In the second half, we also had a fast pace of play, but more patience and control. That was the difference,”
Berhalter’s Americans missed the impact of injured central midfielder Tyler Adams and Pulisic noted their weakness at tha back.
“It hurts. We had a good start to the game. I felt like we hurt them in a lot of moments. But yeah, little mistakes here and there. Defensively, we can be a bit better,” the AC Milan winger said.
“Obviously, we have to give them credit. They have some unbelievable players. They played a strong game.”
Germany will face Mexico in Philadelphia on Tuesday, when the USA will take on Ghana in Nashville.
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