Germany battled their way to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup title on Sunday, beating Chile 1-0 in a tight final in Russia.
Lars Stindl gave the Germans a first-half lead against the run of play, taking advantage of some dreadful defending.
Chile went close on several occasions after the break, but their top stars faltered in front of goal.
Here’s a look at the two teams:
ICYMI | This is how the @FIFAWorldCup holders @DFB_Team_EN line-up for the #ConfedCup final! 🇩🇪🇩🇪🇩🇪 #CHIGER https://t.co/pHGfxdSx95
ICYMI | Here is the @LaRoja team for the #ConfedCup final! #CHIGER 🇨🇱🇨🇱🇨🇱 https://t.co/yqVtNpHnOj
La Roja came out with intensity and threatened early, with Alexis Sanchez putting Marc-Andre ter Stegen to work with a shot from range. Arturo Vidal could have opened the scoring after just five minutes, running into Ter Stegen, and the Bayern Munich man went close again with another hard drive.
Die Mannschaft made one mistake after the other but weren’t punished, as Sanchez should have finished a routine rebound after a poor save by Ter Stegen but somehow missed the target.
B/R Football summed up Chile’s first 20 minutes:
B/R Football @brfootball
Chile’s opening 20 minutes #ConfedCup
(IG: houseofhighlights) https://t.co/yjk9pP4F3u
And as is so often the case, their wastefulness was punished. Marcelo Diaz gifted Timo Werner the ball, and the forward played in Stindl, who produced the easy finish. As shared by BBC’s Match of the Day, it was almost impossible to miss:
Match of the Day @BBCMOTD
The easiest goal Lars Stindl will ever score?
Chile tried to respond, and Charles Aranguiz came within inches of deviating a cross home. On the other side of the pitch, Leon Goretzka blasted a shot wide, and the midfielder should have done more with the chance.
Julian Draxler pulled a shot wide before the final chance of the half fell to Goretzka, who nearly took advantage of another horrendous miscue, this time by Gonzalo Jara.
B/R Football had an apt analogy for Chile’s efforts:
B/R Football @brfootball
Chile going forward vs. Chile defending #CHIGER #ConfedCup https://t.co/dl5RwskBhu
Draxler nearly pushed the first chance of the half in goal before tempers flared, as Joshua Kimmich went into Claudio Bravo and the Chileans responded in kind. Vidal was booked for shoving his Bayern team-mate, who also saw a yellow card.
FC Bayern US had to react:
FC Bayern US @FCBayernUS
#MiaSanMia, but not today, as Kimmich and Vidal go face-to-face and receive yellow cards.
Jara was booked after VAR confirmed he elbowed Werner in the face, but for some reason, the official opted to give a yellow card, even though the offence clearly deserved a red, per ESPN FC’s Mark Ogden:
Mark Ogden @MarkOgden_
Jara elbows Werner, goes to VAR, and gets a yellow. Not a red. Should have been a red.
There was more controversy regarding the VAR system in store after Eduardo Vargas missed another big chance. Sanchez hit the turf right as Vidal blasted a shot over the bar, and La Roja were livid when the official did not award a penalty. Replays confirmed it was the right decision, but the South Americans were outraged nonetheless.
Angelo Sagal missed a golden opportunity to tie things, as his half-volley failed to find the target, and more handbags followed, with Emre Can holding on to the ball and earning himself a booking for his troubles. Bravo didn’t enjoy that one bit, and he too was booked for his reaction.
All the pushing and shoving only aided the Germans, who successfully ran out the clock and were bailed out by goalkeeper Ter Stegen, who saved a free-kick by Sanchez in the final minutes. Ter Stegen was named man of the match for his performance, per FIFA.
Die Mannschaft will have the chance to become the first Confederations Cup winners to also win the World Cup the following year when they defend their 2014 title in Russia in 2018.