International friendlies are notorious for their typical drab offering of turgid football played out by two disinterested sides, punctuated with a constant stream of substitutions and formation changes.
One needs to look no further than England’s dull 1-0 win over Netherlands on Friday night for an example. Yet tonight’s other marquee match showcased what international friendlies are all about.
Germany and Spain played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in Düsseldorf, in a match between two of the world’s finest teams in front of a sold-out and boisterous crowd.
Flowing, attacking football was a constant fixture throughout the ninety minutes, and it truly felt like the entertaining spectacle that the match was billed to be.
Yet the sad reality is that friendlies such as these are rarities. Often when two international heavyweights meet with nothing at stake, little ambition is on display.
Nonetheless, both the Germans and the Spaniards threw caution to the wind and set out to attack and play with passion.
With just under 100 days until the World Cup kicks off in June, this international break is the perfect opportunity for fringe players to stake their place for a spot on the plane to Russia.
This contributed to the surprising urgency of the match, with players in both squads determined to prove their worth.
An, of course, by far the biggest treat when these two continental superpowers meet is the star talent.
David de Gea and Marc-Andre ter Stegen revealed why they are the best goalkeepers in their respective domestic leagues, saving a dizzying array of attempts- allowing just two combined goals on 17 shots.
The artistry of both midfields was a joy to watch, with Isco, Iniesta, Koke, Thiago, and David Silva facilitating the famous Spanish possession style.
On the German side, Mesut Ozil offered a plethora of delicate touches, while Timo Werner was constantly threatening with his searing pace and intelligent decision-making in the final third.
The enthralling battle between two footballing giants was a perfect advert for the upcoming World Cup.
With only 83 days until the opening match, Germany and Spain proved there is much to look forward to this summer.