Young Germans win bruising Confederations Cup final
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.”
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.