SOCHI: World Cup holders Germany will play South American champions Chile in Sunday’s final of the FIFA Confederations Cup after destroying Mexico 4-1 in the Olympic Fisht stadium in Sochi writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The Germans brought something of a scratch team to Russia for the World Cup warm-up tournament but they have tightened up from game to game and Mexico could not cope with the elusive playmaker Julian Draxler, fast-striker midfielder Leon Gortezka and persistent centre-forward Timo Werner.
Chile had reached the final by defeating Portugal 3-0 in a penalty shootout after a goalless extra-time in the first semi-final in Kazan on Wednesday.
Germany had their place in Sunday’s showdown secured after only eight minutes following a double strike by Schalke’s Goretzka who capitalised on gaping holes in the Mexican midfield and defence.
They might have scored a quick-fire in the 18th minute but keeper Guillermo Ochoa saved well from Werner.
That escape encouraged Mexico to pursue a foothold back in the game. Jonathan dos Santos forced a sharp save from German keeper Marc-Andre ten Stegen before Chicharito Hernandez lofted high of the bar from close range almost on half-time.
Germany should have been awarded a penalty at the start of the second half when Werner was pushed in the back as he chased into the penalty box.
Referee Nestor Pitana waved play on, just as an apparently reasonable penalty claim had been refused to Chile the night before. The two incidents raised suspicions that the video assistant referees had been reined in after their interventions had dominated the group stage matches.
Not that it mattered much because Werner scored Germany’s third shortly afterwards, though this time a suspicion of offside went unremarked.
Mexico, to their credit, never gave up. Raul Jimenez headed against the bar in the 75th minute and then Marco Fabian – who plays his club football in Germany for Eintracht Frankfurt – thumped home a goal from fully 30metres. The shot took a late curl wide of the diving ter Stehen’s left hand.
Now, really too late El Tri surged forward. This left them exposed at the back and Germany broke away for Armin Younes to crown victory with a fourth goal.
Germany thus progressed to the final against Chile, with whom they had drawn 1-1 in Group B.