Germany downs Chile 1-0 in Confederations Cup final
Redacción Agencias | 7/3/2017, 7:26 a.m.
Germany eked out a 1-0 victory over Chile in the Confederations Cup final in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday before some 57,000 spectators at Krestovsky Stadium.
It was the Germans' first final win in the tourney, in which Brazil won the last three championships and which traditionally the competition, which traditionally constitutes a dress rehearsal of sorts for the World Cup, also to be played next year in Russia.
With stereotypical German efficiency, the squad coached by Joachim Löw intelligently took advantage of the Chileans, keeping calm at all times in marked contrast to their rivals, who were all passion and nerves in the final matchup.
The Chileans came onto the pitch with fire in their eyes and clearly dominated early on, with attempts - albeit thwarted ones - by Charles Aranguiz from close in and Arturo Vidal trying for the rebound shot, which goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen managed to save.
Eduardo Vargas and Mauricio Isla really put the pressure on Ter Stegen and the young German defense, but in the 20th minute - capitalizing on what proved to be a fatal Marcelo Diaz error - it was Lars Stindl who found the twine in an unguarded net, giving the European squad the 1-0, the only tally of the match.
Juan Antonio Pizzi's Chileans didn't fold, however, and kept on fighting until the break, and in the second half as well, but never could seem to find the combination to get a tying goal.
At about the 60th minute, Gonzalo Jara dealt a rough elbow blow to Timo Werner's jaw - a move that would have surely warranted ejection - but referee Milorad Mazic, of Serbia, handed him only a yellow card, thus preventing the Chileans from continuing a man short.
Chile, sensing the dwindling time, then began to pressure the Germans relentlessly but missed a fabulous opportunity in the 85th minute when Edson Puch stole the ball from right in front of Ter Stegen and knocked it back to Anyelo Sagal, only to have him put far too much blast onto the ball, sending it over the bar.
A semi-brawl developed in the 90th minute with Emre Can, who had been sent in 11 minutes earlier, and colleagues going at it with five Chileans after he knocked over Sanchez.
And in extra time Sanchez fired a straight-on free kick from 25 meters which Ter Stegen parried, thus ending the Chileans' hopes of tying it up.
Germany's 23-year-old team captain, Julian Draxler, was named best player for the tourney, receiving the trophy directly from Argentine soccer icon Diego Maradona, and Chile's Claudio Bravo was honored with the best goalkeeper award, bestowed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Brazil's Ronaldo Nazario presented Germany's Werner with the top-scorer award, after he notched three tallies during Confederations Cup play, just like Leon Goretzka and Stindl, although he delivered more passes to his comrades, thus deserving the award, in the opinion of the judging body.