SOCHI: World champions Germany despite fielding what was almost a third-choice team, opened their Confederations Cu[ campaign with a 3-2 victory over Asian champions Australia in the Fischt stadium, reclaimed from Winter Olympics duty.
Joachim Low’s squad selection had disappointed the Russian organisers but was understandable in pragmatic terms.
Germany’s coach wanted to rest his seniors inbetween the European finals last year and the World Cup next year while the under-21s are competing in their age-group European Championship in Poland.
Lars Stindl, captain Julian Draxler and Leon Goretzka scored the goals which provided all three points despite the two handling errors from keeper Bernd Leno which helped Australia keep an entertaining game alive with strikes from Celtic’s Tom Rogic and Tomi Juric.
The video referee was called into again, this time approving Juric’s goal despite queries over possible offside or handball offences.
This was the fifth VAR intervention in four matches in two days.
Low was a happy man afterwards, saying: “We had a very good first 45 minutes. Unfortunately the score was just 2-1 when it should have been more comfortable for us. But a lot of players were making their debuts at a tournament like this. Overall I’m very satisfied.”
Man of the match Draxler added: “After the break we lost our rhythm a bit but it was important to pick up our first three points. That’s what counts. We’ll have to be much better next time against Chile.”
Socceroos’ boss Ange Postecoglou thought his players had shown the Germans too much respect.
Postecoglou said: “In the first half we sat too deep. That wasn’t good and we weren’t really able to get into the game. At half-time I tried to tell the team to take a few more risks. The important thing for me is that they have the right attitude, and they did here.”
Confederations Cup so far:
Jun 17 (St Petersburg): Russia 2 (Boxall og 31, Smolov 69), New Zealand 0
Jun 18 (Moscow Spartak): Cameroon 0, Chile 2 (Vidal 81, Vargas 90)
Wed, Jun 21 (Moscow): Russia v Portugal.
Wed, Jun 21 (Sochi): Mexico v New Zealand
Jun 18 (Kazan): Portugal 2 (Quaresma 34, Cedric 86), Mexico 2 (Hernandez 42, Moreno 90).
Jun 19 (Sochi): Australia 2 (Rogic 41, Juric 56), Germany 3 (Stindl 5, Draxler 44pen, Goretzka 48).
Jun 22 (St Petersburg): Cameroon v Australia.
Jun 22 (Kazan): Germany v Chile.