Germany beat Chile, win Confed Cup
ST PETERSBURG, Russia (AP):
Germany's experimental young side overcame streetwise Chile to win a bruising Confederations Cup final 1-0 yesterday, vindicating Joachim Lˆw's decision to leave most of his world champions at home.
The only goal in St Petersburg came in the 20th minute from the 28-year-old Lars Stindl, who tapped into an empty net after a defensive blunder. While the midfielder was the oldest player in a starting lineup with an average age under 25, he only made his international debut less than a month ago.
Stindl's third goal of the World Cup warm-up tournament came completely against the run of play in a first-half dominated by Chile, but the more experienced South American champions could find no way past a side that is effective on the counterattack.
Chile's frustrations were clear in the second half when Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal squared up to Bayern Munich teammate Joshua Kimmich, who was also shoved by Gary Medel.
Gonzalo Jara then elbowed Germany forward Timo Werner in the face, but escaped with a yellow card despite the incident being reviewed by the referee on a pitch-side monitor.
Victory in St Petersburg came two days after Germany beat Spain in the Under-21 European Championship final, signaling a bright future for a country which will return to Russia in a year to defend the World Cup won in Brazil in 2014.
Unlike in the group-stage draw with Chile, Germany avoided conceding an early goal only just.
The pivotal moment that swung the final in Germany's favour came after 20 minutes. Arturo Vidal's long-range strike was parried by Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, and Alexis Sanchez followed up with a wayward shot.
Then Germany launched a counterattack from inside its own penalty area that ended with the only goal, despite Marcelo Diaz's attempts. The Chile midfielder turned and tried to clear the ball on the edge of his penalty area, but did not spot Werner lurking. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was drawn off his line and Werner squared to Stindl, who had the simplest of tap-ins.
"The goal changed everything," Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said. "It changed the way the players felt. It also made our opponent stronger, of course. They felt better immediately."
Germany had opportunities to extend the lead, with both Goretzka and captain Julian Draxler striking wide, while Chile did not eradicate its mistakes.
When the half-time whistle blew, Germany immediately headed down the tunnel, but the Chileans gathered in a huddle on the pitch for an impromptu team talk.
It had little effect, with Germany preventing the Chileans from gaining the possession they enjoyed in the first half. However much Sanchez tried to produce the equaliser, the striker was foiled as Germany held on to win the Confederations Cup for the first time.
It might never be defended, with the eighth edition likely to be the last. The competition featuring the regional champions, World Cup holders and next World Cup hosts failed to spark much interest outside competing countries. Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts, also cannot stage the Confederations Cup in 2021 because it would have to be played in November or December and disrupt a second European club season.