Chile had conceded just one goal in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and tournament before the final. That was against Germany and Lars Stindl was the goalscorer. The scoreline at the end of that match was 1-1. They then conceded in the final of the tournament and that was against the same opposition and the goalscorer had the same name on the back of his shirt. Only this time, the scoreline read 1-0 in favour of Germany.
The first half was one defined by contradictions. Chile were the oldest side in the tournament and they were facing the youngest team this season. The experience seemed to carry weight as the South Americans started the match by pretty much putting their feet on the throats of their opposition. They hogged possession and made it look impossible for Germany to get out of their own half in the first 10 minutes. For a moment, it looked like the criticism that Joachim Loew received to travel to Russia without the likes of Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Mats Hummels, Jermoe Boateng and Manuel Neuer may just be unearthed after it had been burried by his young team when they stormed into the final by beating Mexico 4-1.
But then, Chile’s urgency in the midfield to put the ball forward was balanced out by their inability to put it beyond Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and into goal. Germany slowly started making forward runs of their own and it is then that Chile’s defensive lapses started coming to light. On one such occasion, Timo Werner stole the ball from Marcelo Dias just inside the penalty area. Claudio Bravo came off his line and spread himself in front of the young German and the latter passed the ball to Lars Stindl who only had an empty net to put the ball into.
Curiously enough, the match continued along the same vein even after that goal with Chile hogging possession and keeping pressure on the German defence. But Germany’s attacks were sharper and the Chilean defence were making some more glaring errors. This would have been something that Claudi Bravo must have pointed out when the team had a brief conference in the middle of the pitch before walking off at half-time.
Tempers flared in the second half as a frustrated Chilean side kept bombarding Germany. The first real incident was when Joshua Kimmich had a go at Bravo which led to a coming together of players and substitutes. The second was when Emre Can refused to give the ball to the opposition late into the second half. VAR was brought into play when Germany demanded to review the referee’s decision to not penalise Gonzalo Jara for elbowing Timo Werner. Jara did end up getting a yellow card at the end of it. But the shots were all either directly at Ter Stegen or woefully off target. Chile had 22 shots off which only eight were on target. This included a sitter that substitute Angelo Sagal.
But Chile’s shots were all either directly at Ter Stegen or woefully off target. They had 22 shots off which only eight were on target. This included a sitter that substitute Angelo Sagal missed. Edson Puch snatched the ball from in front of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and pulled it back to the wide open Sagal. He had to only place it past a woefully unprepared Ter Stegen but instead the ball went flying over the post.
After Germany’s 1-1 draw with Chile in the group stage, Joachim Loew had said that the result was as good as winning the trophy itself as his young side had managed to hold out one of the strongest teams in the world. He now has a selection headache that would make him the envy of every manager leading their teams to the World Cup.