Germans primed to chill Chile Lopsided win over Mexico sets up Confed final showdown
SOCHI, Russia — Just how much Leon Goretzka wanted to seize his opportunity in an experimental Germany squad became clear after only eight minutes against Mexico on Thursday.
With two goals in the space of 109 seconds, Goretzka put the defensively-ragged Mexicans on the back foot and set Germany on its way to the Confederations Cup final with a clinical 4-1 victory.
Germany coach Joachim Loew is using the World Cup warm-up tournament to assess his pool of talent, resting all but three of his world champions from 2014.
Silverware was never the priority, but the World Cup will have another trophy for company if Loew’s fledglings can beat Chile on Sunday in St. Petersburg.
Germany drew 1-1 with the South American champion in the group stage, recovering after conceding in the sixth minute — and learning from the lax start.
“Against Chile we were caught off guard; we’d discussed that beforehand and implemented it well today,” the 22-year-old Goretzka said.
“After getting through the group stage, our objective was to reach the final. We’ve done that convincingly. Now we want to win the title and reward ourselves for our performances so far.”
All three German scorers in the southern Russian resort of Sochi were players making their tournament debuts. After Goretzka netted in the 6th and 8th minutes, Timo Werner and Amin Younes scored in the second half.
“They have developed really well,” Loew said at Fisht Stadium. “Over these weeks, we have become a genuine team and that is important. They are very ambitious and yearning to be part of the national team.”
Despite the emphatic score line, Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was kept busy. There were 25 shots on goal, but he only con- ceded in the 89th minute, beaten by Marco Fabian’s long-range swerving shot.
Mexico will now head to Moscow to play Portugal in the third-place match on Sunday after paying the price for affording Germany too much space to slice through its defense.
“We didn’t have a good start to the game, and they took advantage,” Fabian said. “We have to acknowledge that we dared to play as equals.
“Sometimes adrenaline plays a trick on us. Sometimes we make mistakes that they take advantage of. We have to learn to be effective and take advantage of their mistakes.”
It was a misplaced header by captain Hector Moreno that freed Goretzka to launch the attack that he completed to put Germany in front.
Goretzka seized possession around the halfway line, passed to Benjamin Henrichs on the right flank and accelerated to receive the ball back before sweeping in a low shot from 20 meters.
Mexico was jolted and had not regrouped when its defense was shredded again. Werner threaded the ball through for Goretzka to slot under the legs of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa at the near post and claim his third goal of the competition.
“His special forte is that he can run longer distances,” Loew said after the Schalke midfielder’s eighth international appearance. “Running those long distances sets him apart from the rest.”
Germany squandered an opportunity for a third goal when Werner struck straight at Ochoa. Soon Ter Stegen was being repeatedly called into action, using his outstretched right leg to clear a shot from Giovani Dos Santos and diving to block the follow-up from Jonathan Dos Santos.
Mexico had an even better chance to pull one back. The ball broke for Javier Hernandez and the striker only had Ter Stegen to beat but the shot was lifted too high.
In the 59th minute, a flowing move saw Germany captain Julian Draxler and Jonas Hector combine to set up the unmarked Werner, who tapped his shot into the gaping goal.
Chile’s indestructible team spirit and unyielding attitude have laid the foundations for a hugely successful run that will see it contest a third straight international final at the Confederations Cup.
Claudio Bravo proved Chile’s hero on Wednesday as the Manchester City goalkeeper saved all three penalties to eliminate Portugal in a semifinal shootout following a 0-0 draw after extra time in Kazan.
“That was unbelievably stressful,” said the 34-year-old Bravo, as Chile won 3-0 on penalties to set up a showdown against Germany on Sunday.
“This team never gives up, which means we can achieve great things like this.”
With the European champion vanquished, Chile is eager for the rematch with world champion Germany as it attempts to add the Confederations Cup trophy to its 2015 and 2016 Copa America titles in Saint Petersburg.
“That was a crazy end, the first penalty is always the most
Mexico’s Hirving Lozano somersaults after colliding with Germany’s Lars Stindl during Thursday’s Confederations Cup semifinal in Sochi, Russia. Germany won 4-1 and will face Chile in Sunday’s final.