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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.