Sanchez distracted amid transfer speculation - Five things we learned from the Confederations Cup final

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Lars Stindl’s simple tap-in, following a costly first-half blunder by Marcelo Diaz, was enough to give Germany a 1-0 win over Chile in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday.

Diaz’s momentary lapse in concentration let Timo Werner rob him of possession, draw the goalkeeper and pass to Stindl, who scored into an empty net on 20 minutes in Saint Petersburg.

This is the first time Germany, the defending world champions, have won the Confederations Cup in the eighth edition of the pre-World Cup tournament.

Here’s what we learned from the encounter.

GERMANY DOMINANCE IS HERE TO STAY

When Germany won the 2014 World Cup, may suspected their cycle of success to have ended. With Portugal winning Euro 2016, others took to that opinion as well. Germany would remain contenders of course, but hardly standout favourites anymore.

A European Championship win for their U-21 side followed by this Confederation Cup success with their second-string team however, proved without a shadow of a doubt that the future of German football is bright. Indeed, their most experienced player in the starting XI for the final was Julian Draxler with a mere 35 caps to his name.

Much of the credit must go to Joachim Low and his long-term vision of success for the national team. They don’t look like slowing down as the next generation of players are already raring to go.

SANCHEZ DISTRACTED

The Arsenal forward has been the subject of much transfer speculation this summer and perhaps its no coincidence that he hasn’t quite had his head in the game.

Rather than looking sluggish or out of touch, it’s his decision-making that has been his biggest shortcoming over the course of the tournament.

In the final again, the Chilean was guilty of missing a couple of good opportunities. Given his pedigree, he should’ve been the man leading his country to glory but his performance on the whole was disappointing.

VAR NOT WITHOUT FLAW

Gonzalo Jara’s elbow to Timo Werner’s face was pretty blatant 20 minutes into the second half.

It was clear that the defender had a rush of blood and when the referee turned to the VARs for guidance, a red card seemed certain.

However, the Chilean only received a booking, a controversial decision to say the least. While the technology is sound, it doesn’t remove human error entirely with decisions ultimately left up to interpretation of incidents. It’s still well on course to improve the game, but this was a timely reminder that controversy over decisions will always creep in.

THE GERMAN JOB

Time and time again, Germany have proved one thing – they know how to get the job done. Low’s team have shown great discipline and commitment over the course of this tournament.

Chile were all over the Germans in the opening 20 minutes and could have been a couple of goals ahead. Lars Stindl scored completely against the run of play after a defensive blunder from Marcelo Diaz gifted the ball to Timo Werner.

Germany pounced and then held Chile off for the rest of the game expertly, closing down the opposition, getting bodies behind the ball and breaking on the counter. Match won, trophy secured, job done.

CHILE MISS HUGE OPPORTUNITY

The South Americans have enjoyed great success in recent years, after winning successive Copa America titles. A Confederation Cup win would’ve made a huge statement ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Given how the game unfolded, it could even be argued that Chile were the better side but failed to take their chances. They missed several goal-scoring opportunities in both halves.

Before the game, Arturo Vidal said that they were out to prove that they were the best team in the world. For the first 20 minutes it looked like they were going to do just that, before it all went pear-shaped.

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Chile 0-1 Germany: Lars Stindl strike decides hard-fought Confederations Cup final

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Lars Stindl struck the only goal as Germany beat Chile 1-0 to win the Confederations Cup in St Petersburg.

Borussia Monchengladbach forward Stindl tapped home against the run of play after a defensive blunder midway through the first half as world champions Germany added another major trophy to their collection.

Copa America winners Chile wasted a glut of goalscoring chances in either half and with the help of a superb stoppage-time save from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Joachim Low’s side held on to win the tournament for the first time.

After the two sides drew their group game 1-1 10 days ago Chile made the brighter start in the rematch and were clearly the better side throughout most of the first period.

Alexis Sanchez flashed a shot wide in the second minute, Arturo Vidal’s effort from inside the penalty area was parried by Ter Stegen and Eduardo Vargas fired over the crossbar from 25 yards.

Another effort from Vargas was well held by Ter Stegen as Chile looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
Ter Stegen then spilled Vidal’s shot from outside the area into the path of Sanchez, but the Arsenal forward could not control the rebound and another chance went begging.

Moments later Germany snatched a 20th-minute lead with their first meaningful effort on goal.

Chile defender Marcelo Diaz gifted Timo Werner the ball on the edge of the box and the Germany striker ran on and turned the ball across goal for Stindl to tap into an empty net.


The South Americans carved open the German defence again four minutes later, but the final ball into the box from Mauricio Isla flew beyond Charles Aranguiz with an equaliser beckoning.

Germany finished the half strongly, with Leon Goretzka lashing an angled shot wide following Sebastian Rudy’s brilliant through-ball before Julian Draxler steered a low effort inches wide after being set up by Werner.

Early in the second period, Gonzalo Jara’s last-ditch block deflected Draxler’s shot wide before Serbian referee Milorad Mazic booked Bayern Munich team-mates Joshua Kimmich and Vidal following a fracas as the game turned feisty.

Mazic called on the video assistant referee just after the hour mark when Jara appeared to strike Werner in the jaw with his elbow as he challenged for the ball. But the VAR review courted more controversy when Mazic opted to show the fortunate Chile defender a yellow card.

Chile began to threaten again with 20 minutes left. Vargas’s low shot on the turn inside the area was gathered by Ter Stegen and Vidal thumped the ground in frustration after lashing his effort off target.

Edson Puch set up fellow Chile substitute Angelo Sagal for another gilt-edged chance in the 85th minute, but the latter blazed over from eight yards.

Ter Stegen denied Chile again in time added on, diving low to his left to keep out Sanchez’s free-kick from just outside the area to ensure victory for Low’s experimental squad.

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Adrien Silva's extra-time penalty helps Ronaldo-less Portugal beat Mexico 2-1 in Confederations Cup third place play-off

Adrien Silva scored an extra-time penalty as Portugal recovered from a goal down to beat Mexico 2-1 in Sunday's third-place play-off at the Confederations Cup in Moscow.

Luis Neto bundled into his own net to hand Mexico a 54th-minute lead, but Pepe stabbed home a stoppage-time equaliser to force an extra 30 minutes at Spartak Stadium.

Silva then struck his first international goal after a handball inside the box on 104 minutes, while both sides finished with 10 men as Nelson Semedo was dismissed for Portugal before Raul Jimenez saw red for Mexico.

World champions Germany face Copa America holders Chile later in the final in Saint Petersburg.

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