Italy's Under-21 team were beaten 1-0 in a friendly by fellow UEFA European Championship finalists Germany thanks to a stunning goal by Toni Kroos in Osnabruck.
Kroos' effort just after half-time was enough to separate the sides. However, Italy started and finished the game strongly with coach Pierluigi Casiraghi using the game to have a look at several different options, and making no less than seven substitutions.
Playing in front of a crowd of 10,000, the Azzurrini began well, but while they dominated possession, they struggled to convert it into any clear-cut chances.
Three minutes into the second half, Kroos, who had struck the crossbar in the first half, got on the ball in space once more and sent in a shot with the outside of his right foot that flew into the corner.
The goal livened up proceedings although the raft of replacements made by Casiraghi also contributed to the game's now more open state.
Lorenzo De Silvestri struck his own post under pressure from Sandro Wagner and then Fabiano Santacroce passed up an excellent chance to equalise when he managed to hit the outside of the post despite an open goal in front of him.
Both sides went close in an exciting finale, but Germany held on for a narrow win.
The two countries will now look ahead to the draw for next summer's Championships in Sweden which takes place on Wednesday 3 December in Gothenburg.