Germany wins FIFA Confederations Cup
If Germany retain the World Cup next year, then perhaps this was the night that laid the groundwork. Chile will ask themselves how they lost this Confederations Cup final after they missed a number of chances and let Lars Stindl score the winning goal after a defensive slip. But it was a triumphant night for Germany manager Joachim Low and a group of players he opted to give a test run this summer ahead of the bigger World Cup challenge in 2018; he now has 11 months to sift through a more battle-hardened set of options than any other international coach has at his disposal.
Chile started at a ferocious tempo and carved Germany open within five minutes. Excellent work from Arturo Vidal freed Charles Aranguiz, but as the midfielder poised to pull the trigger, Antonio Rudiger executed a perfect tackle. The ball stayed alive, and Vidal’s low drive was kept out by the legs of Germany keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Chile’s early onslaught continued, with Vidal and Eduardo Vargas both trying their luck. It was near-incessant pressure, and in the 19th minute Alexis Sanchez missed a glorious chance. He seemed certain to convert after Ter Stegen parried from Vidal, but Sanchez perhaps took his eye off the ball and failed to make a clean contact.
Within seconds, Sanchez was made to pay. Germany had barely laid a glove on Chile but took the lead with a gift of a goal. Germany’s Timo Werner robbed Marcelo Diaz of possession just outside his own box and squared to Stindl for the simplest of tap-ins; nobody could say this turn of events had seemed remotely likely.
It was a shock to Chile; they began to huff and puff, and Leon Goretzka might twice have extended Germany’s lead before half-time. First, the in-form Schalke player fired across goal from Sebastian Rudy’s smart pass, and then was denied well by Chile keeper Claudio Bravo after Julian Draxler had capitalised on another lapse.
Draxler threatened 10 minutes into the second half, surging through before a lunging Gonzalo Jara deflected Draxler’s shot wide, and Germany looked more than capable of picking off their older opponents on the counterattack. Chile were becoming fractious and Jara received a let-off when, after appearing to elbow Werner, a lengthy video assistant referee (VAR) review led to nothing more than a yellow card.
Tempers raised even further when, 15 minutes from time, Sanchez went down in the box after colliding with Rudy. Vidal shot over from the loose ball, but Chile’s players furiously claimed a penalty and urged referee Milorad Mazic to review using the VAR. To their disgust, he failed to oblige, although more conventional replays suggested Sanchez did not have a case.
Chile rallied for one last push as Ter Stegen tipped wide from Aranguiz, and then they missed their final big chance. Substitute Angelo Sagal had a gaping net to fire into when fellow replacement Edson Puch squared past a committed Ter Stegen, but Sagal blazed his shot over the crossbar — and with that wayward finish went his side’s hopes.