KAZAN: Germany and Chile, champions respectively of the world and South America, surged within sight of the Confederations Cup semi-finals after a 1-1 draw in Kazan writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Their Group B duel might even be repeated in the final in St Petersburg on Sunday week. Both were ultimately satisfied with a point apiece which means they need, at the most, draws in their remaining ties against Cameroon and Australia.
The Germans had conceded two unnecssary goals in their opening 3-2 win over Australia and they also gifted Chile an eighth-minute breakthrough. A sloppy clearance from Shkhodran Mustafi, under no pressure, was seized on by Chile so Alexis Sanchez could shoot the South American champions ahead. Sanchez’s 38th goal for Chile established him as their record international marksman.
The eager aggression of the Chileans caused Germany a host of early problems. The world champions were fortunate not to fall further behind when a 25m drive from Eduardo Vargas thumped against the bar and ricocheted back out into play.
Germany capitalised on the escape to equalise four minutes before half-time. A fine team move saw Emre Can open up the Chilean right flank for Jonas Hector to deliver a first-time cross so Lars Stindl could strike from close range.
Both teams maintain an entertaining pace in the second half but without producing anything like as much danger.
A tiring Vargas curled one shot wide before being substituted while, at the other end, Julian Draxler had an effort well saved by Johnny Herrera and Matthias Ginter headed wastefully wide from a free kick.
Earlier, in St Petersburg, Cameroon and Australia shared a 1-1 draw which kept faint semifinals hope alive for both group outsiders who had lost their opening fixtures.
Cameroon were the more dangerous early on through Vincent Aboubakar who put his clearest opportunity into the side netting.
Andre Zambo Anguissa finally opened the scoring for Cameroon in first-half stoppage-time as he arrowed in pursuit of an upfield punt from Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui and flipped the ball over keeper Mathew Ryan who had been slow to spot the danger.
This the man of the match’s first goal for his country and the Indomitable Lions’ first in the Confederations Cup since the tragic competition in 2003 during which Marc-Vivien Foe died.
The African champions’ lead proved short-lived.
Immediately after the break Tomi Juric missed badly from close range but Cameroon’s relief did not last long. Just before the hour Alex Gersbach was felled inside the penalty area by Ernest Mabouka. American video assistant Jair Marrufo confirmed the spotkick, converted by Michael Milligan.
Story so far:
Jun 17 (St Petersburg): Russia 2 (Boxall og 31, Smolov 69), New Zealand 0
Jun 18 (Kazan): Portugal 2 (Quaresma 34, Cedric 86), Mexico 2 (Hernandez 42, Moreno 90).
Jun 21 (Moscow): Russia 0, Portugal 1 (Ronaldo 8)
Jun 21 (Sochi): Mexico 2 (Jimenez 54, Peralta 72),New Zealand 1 (Wood 42)
Jun 24 (Kazan): Mexico v Russia
Jun 24 (St Petersburg): New Zealand v Portugal
Jun 18 (Moscow Spartak): Cameroon 0, Chile 2 (Vidal 81, Vargas 90)
Jun 19 (Sochi): Australia 2 (Rogic 41, Juric 56),Germany 3 (Stindl 5, Draxler 44pen, Goretzka 48)
Jun 22 (St Petersburg): Cameroon 1 (Zambo Anguissa 45), Australia 1 (Milligan 60pen)
Jun 22 (Kazan): Germany 1 (Stindl 41), Chile 1 (Sanchez 8)
Jun 25 (Sochi): Germany v Cameroon
Jun 25 (Moscow): Chile v Australia
** For teams level on points, positions are decided in order by:
1, Goal difference in all group matches;
2, Goals scored in all group matches.
If two or more teams are still level, rankings will be determined by:
1, Greatest number of points in mutual matches;
2, Goal difference in mutual matches;
3, Goals scored in mutual matches.
4, Fair play points based on
– yellow card: minus 1 point
– yellow/red card: minus 3 points
– direct red card: minus 4 points
– yellow card and direct red card: minus 5 points
5, drawing of lots by the FIFA organising committee.