Germany oust Cameroon; Chile book Portugal clash
SOCHI — Germany eased into the Confederations Cup semifinals with a 3-1 win over Cameroon on Sunday as the the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system was again thrust into the spotlight when the on-field official needed two reviews of an incident to reach the right verdict.
Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan consulted VAR after a reckless high challenge by Ernest Mabouka on Germany’s Emre Can saw Sebastien Siani wrongly receive a yellow card in a case of mistaken identity.
But even then Roldan did not come up with the right outcome as he simply switched the colour of midfielder Siani’s card from yellow to red.
It was only after Cameroon’s players insisted he review the incident again that he realised his error, rescinded Siani’s sending off and instead flashed the red card to the correct culprit Mabouka.
Germany deservedly topped Group B to set up a last four meeting with Mexico at the same venue on Thursday after the first international goals for Kerem Demirbay and Timo Werner, who got two. Vincent Aboubakar scored Cameroon’s consolation.
The drama came on a landmark day for Joachim Loew, who was able to celebrate his 100th win as Germany’s head coach in his 150th game in charge.
In Moscow, Martin Rodriguez rescued a 1-1 draw for Chile against Australia on Sunday to send the South American champions through to a semifinal against Portugal.
James Troisi steered Australia ahead on 42 minutes in Moscow, but Chile replied through half-time substitute Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up behind Germany.
Germany progressed as group winners following a 3-1 victory over Cameroon in Sochi, with the world champions to face Mexico for a place in the July 2 final in Saint Petersburg.
Veteran forward Tim Cahill collected his 100th international cap at Spartak Stadium, joining longserving former goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (109) as the only other Australia player to reach the landmark.
Alexis Sanchez went tumbling to ground early on following a lastditch intervention from Mark Milligan, but the video assistant referee dismissed penalty claims as replays showed a clear touch from the Australian defender.
Claudio Bravo returned for Chile following a calf injury and the Manchester City goalkeeper produced a smart block to deny a lunging Massimo Luongo, although Australia forged ahead on 42 minutes.
A risky pass from Bravo was intercepted inside the Chile half, allowing Robbie Kruse to steer the ball across the face of the box to an unmarked Troisi who clipped over the advancing keeper. Arturo Vidal nearly replied instantly when his stooping header was blocked on the line by Milligan with the rebound eluding Jose Fuenzalida.
Australian centre-back Trent Sainsbury spoiled a glorious chance for a second goal before the break, lashing wildly over on the volley after Chile’s defence momentarily switched off.
But the introduction of Rodriguez and Pablo Hernandez at halftime proved crucial as Chile levelled midway through the second half. Eduardo Vargas beat his marker to a looping ball in the area, knocking down into the path of Rodriguez who smuggled the ball beyond Matt Ryan for his first international goal.
Vargas headed fractionally wide after Sanchez had escaped down the left and picked out his striking partner, while Jamie MacLaren miscued badly in front of Bravo after a brilliant delivery from Troisi before the contest gradually petered out. —