Young Ger­mans win bruis­ing Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup fi­nal

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ROB HAR­RIS

ST. PETERS­BURG, RUS­SIA — Germany’s ex­per­i­men­tal young side over­came street­wise Chile to win a bruis­ing Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup soc­cer fi­nal, 1-0, Sun­day, vin­di­cat­ing Joachim Loew’s de­ci­sion to leave most of his world cham­pi­ons home.

The only goal in St. Peters­burg came in the 20th minute from the 28year-old Lars Stindl, who tapped in an empty net­ter af­ter a de­fen­sive blun­der. While the mid­fielder was the old­est player in a start­ing lineup with an av­er­age age un­der 25, he just made his in­ter­na­tional de­but less than a month ago.

“This was a magic match for us, for our young play­ers who don’t have this in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence,” Loew said. “The way we were so sin­gle minded in this vic­tory, it was very im­pres­sive”

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, whose lineup had an av­er­age age over 30, 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.

“Our team to­day had to fight back a lot,” Loew said, “be­cause the Chileans are very ro­bust play­ers, es­pe­cially in one on ones.”

Gon­zalo Jara 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.

It was the lat­est mo­ment of con­fu­sion dur­ing tri­als of the video re­play sys­tem by FIFA, which is de­ter­mined to re­tain the tech­nol­ogy at the World Cup next year in Rus­sia despite ma­jor teething prob­lems.

Rus­sia’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties as a host for the World Cup next year be­came far clearer dur­ing the two weeks it hosted eight teams in four cities, as the coun­try over­come con­cerns about fan be­hav­iour to pro­vide a wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment. The eighth — and prob­a­bly last-ever — Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup has also proved a use­ful test­ing ground for Germany, with Loew able to test the tal­ents at his dis­posal.

Vic­tory in St. Peters­burg came two days af­ter Germany beat Spain in the Un­der-21 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship fi­nal, sig­nalling a bright fu­ture for a coun­try which will re­turn to Rus­sia in a year to de­fend the World Cup won in Brazil in 2014.

Only three mem­bers of that 2014 squad even made the trip to Rus­sia. The squad didn’t rely on one star to carry it to glory, with goals shared through­out the team.

“Jok­ingly, we could say that now we have to think about which of the play­ers we left at home we can still add to this team next year,” Loew said. “Se­ri­ously though, we have created al­ter­na­tives, by giv­ing young play­ers ex­pe­ri­ence.”

IVAN SEKRETAREV, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Germany’s Julian Draxler holds up the cham­pi­onship tro­phy at the end of the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup fi­nal against Chile at the St. Peters­burg Sta­dium in Rus­sia on Sun­day. Germany won, 1-0.

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