Germany’s Julian Brandt celebrates with the trophy and team mates after winning the FIFA Confederations Cup. (Reuters Photo/Maxim Shemetov)
Germany Survives Chile Onslaught to Win Confederations Cup
BY :BRIAN HOMEWOOD
JULY 03, 2017
St Petersburg. Germany survived a whirlwind assault by Chile and capitalized on an awful mistake by the South Americans to claim a 1-0 victory in a pulsating, bad-tempered Confederations Cup final on Sunday (02/07).
Germany won the title for the first time after Lars Stindl scored the only goal in the 20th minute when Chile midfielder Marcelo Diaz gave the ball away on the edge of his own area.
Chile, playing with their trademark high octane style and driven forward by another relentless display by Arturo Vidal, dominated the match but were let down by poor finishing.
A dramatic game featured missed chances, defensive howlers, scuffles and two video reviews, one producing a highly controversial outcome in the second half.
Chile defender Gonzalo Jara elbowed Timo Werner by the touchline and Serbian referee Milorad Mazic, alerted by the video assistants, let him off with a yellow card instead of a red.
Shortly afterwards, Mazic turned down Chilean appeals for a penalty, stood by his original decision after another review incident and booked Eduardo Vargas for drawing an imaginary television screen.
"I'm immensely proud of this team because they have been together for only three-and-half weeks," Germany coach Joachim Loew told reporters.
It was a remarkable achievement for Germany to lift the trophy with a young, experimental squad, although it could also be a bad omen as no team has ever won the World Cup after winning the Confederations Cup the year before.
Loew left behind players such as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller yet his side still managed to beat the Asian, African, CONCACAF and South American champions on their way to lifting the title.
His team on Sunday had an average age of just over 24, compared to over 30 for Chile. Julian Draxler, who captained the side aged 23, was their most experienced player with 35 caps.
"You could actually feel in all of our training sessions, every single day, that something was happening there. You could feel an unbelievable hunger for victory, both on the training pitch and during matches, so it's well-deserved," Loew said.
"The fact that these young players have won this tournament makes it an historic achievement, it's unique in Germany's history, it's outstanding."
The win came two days after Germany beat Spain 1-0 to win the European under-21 championship.
"All the players who were in the squad were in a much better position than they were before," Loew said.
He added that the final was a bruising match.
"Our team had to fight hard because the Chileans are very robust players," he said. "We have been literally fighting for every single ball."
He also thought Chile defender Gonzalo Jara could have been sent off for elbowing Timo Werner in an incident which was reviewed by the referee using a video replay.
"That could have been a red card because it was a blow in the face and if the referee sees something like that, he could have dismissed him," Loew said.
Chile flew into the game in their inimitable style and Alexis Sanchez should have put them in front, but shot wide from close range after keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen parried Vidal's shot.
Germany struck almost immediately as Diaz lost the ball on the edge of his penalty area to Timo Werner who slipped it through for Stindl to score into an open goal.
Chile kept missing their chances, continued to look vulnerable on the break and nearly gifted Germany another goal before halftime when Jara gave the ball away in defense, but this time Claudio Bravo saved Leon Goretzka's shot.
Germany were happy to contain Chile and play on their mistakes in the second half, although they were living dangerously at times.
Substitute Angelo Sagal scooped the ball over the bar from close range and Ter Stegen pushed away an Alexis Sanchez free kick in almost the last action of the game.
"We put our ideas into practice," said Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi. "We took the initiative, we took control and created chances [...] but because of one of those things, those accidents, that happen in football, it was our turn to lose."