MILAN (AP) " Four months proved to be a long time in international football as Italy drew 0-0 against Germany on Tuesday in a match which bore little resemblance to their enthralling encounter at the European Championship.
The teams on a cold night in Milan were very different from those which faced each other in the quarterfinals in Bordeaux on July 2 " a match won by Germany on penalties after it finished 1-1.
Both teams lined up with just four players who had started for them in France, while Italy also had a new coach in Gian Piero Ventura.
Yannick Gerhardt made his international debut in a youthful Germany side.
Andrea Belotti has scored three goals in his past two Italy matches and he went closest to breaking the deadlock, eight minutes from time. The 22-year-old Belotti carved out space for himself on the right of the area but his effort crashed off the inside of the left upright.
There was an unsporting moment before kickoff as the German national anthem was booed by a loud number of home fans but Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon led the rest of the crowd in applauding to drown out the jeers.
Nice forward Mario Balotelli, who has not been selected for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, was in the stands to watch his country.
Belotti has been having an impressive month, with four goals in his last two matches for club and country. And the Torino forward almost gave Italy an early lead but spooned his effort over the bar.
Germany's first real chance came in the 12th minute following a delightful pass from Ilkay Gundogan to Leon Goretzka but Buffon did well to block with his feet.
Moments later Bernd Leno was tested at the other end as the Germany goalkeeper fingertipped Daniele Rugani's snap shot over the bar.
Italy went closest in the 25th as Ciro Immobile beat the offside trap to run onto Daniele De Rossi's chipped ball over the top but the former Borussia Dortmund striker fired wide of the right post.
Teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma replaced Buffon at halftime, to loud cheers from the fans in the stadium in which his club AC Milan plays its home matches.
The fans roared even louder 10 minutes later as they clamored for a penalty when Belotti went down in the area between two defenders but the referee awarded a goal kick.
Donnarumma made a rare mistake shortly after the hour when he allowed substitute Kevin Volland's effort to squirm under his body but the goal was ruled out on a marginal offside decision, to the 17-year-old's relief.
Federico Bernardeschi replaced Eder, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, in the 68th and almost scored with his first touch when Immobile's cross found him unmarked in a great position but he fired straight at Leno.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings