Low on high for big clash

Leon Goretzka scoring his second goal past Mexico custodian Guillermo Ochoa in Germany's 4-1 win. He is eager to play Chile again after the 1-1 group-stage draw.
Leon Goretzka scoring his second goal past Mexico custodian Guillermo Ochoa in Germany's 4-1 win. He is eager to play Chile again after the 1-1 group-stage draw.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Germany hungry to beat Chile after Goretzka double in semi-final victory against Mexico

SOCHI • On a humid Thursday evening by the Black Sea, 37,923 spectators took the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Russia to nearly full capacity for the first time in the Confederations Cup.

But it was over before it really began. Two goals in the opening eight minutes from the tournament's breakout star Leon Goretzka secured Germany a place in the Confederations Cup final, and even a valiant fightback from Mexico could not revive the game.

Joachim Low hailed Germany's "brilliant" 4-1 win and said his youthful squad are ambitious enough to beat Chile in the final tomorrow.

The Germany coach opted not to bring his World Cup-winning stars to the Confederations Cup, leaving almost a dozen of their best players back home - including Manuel Neuer, Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.

But the world champions' next generation were at their clinical best during the semi-final.

After 22-year-old Goretzka scored his brace, Timo Werner, 21, made it 3-0 midway through the second half.

Marco Fabian scored Mexico's late stunning consolation with a thunderbolt free kick before Germany's substitute Amin Younes, 23, netted Germany's fourth.

"From the beginning, we did exactly what we set out to do - we were very dominant and brilliant in the opening stages," said Low.

"They pushed us back a bit in the second phase of the first half, which was to be expected, and we gave up a lot of ball. All in all, 4-1 is a great result.

"We wanted to go far, but this is nothing that we could have expected at the start of the tournament."

Low added that his team, who drew 1-1 with Chile in the group stage last week, are hungry enough to beat the Copa America champions in the final.

"A lot of work has gone into our wins. We couldn't pre-empt this (reaching the final) as some players had little experience and you couldn't calculate how they'd react.

"We've become a team over the last few weeks. There's fun in the dressing room, but they aren't over the top."

Goretzka and Werner are now the tournament's joint top scorers with three goals each.

"I was really happy to help the team with the two goals, our single-minded goal was to reach the final so we're delighted," said Schalke midfielder Goretzka.

"There is only one match to go. We're looking forward to playing Chile again, because in the second half (of the last match) we had the feeling the draw was not enough.

"Now we have another chance against this top-flight team."

The Mexicans play Portugal in tomorrow's third-place play-off in Moscow.

"Our way of playing is very aggressive. We try to get forward all the time and we paid for that," said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

"Germany are fair winners, but the scoreline would seem to suggest they were way better and I don't think that was the case."

Germany now fly to St Petersburg to prepare for what is expected to be an exciting affair, after Chile dramatically beat the Portuguese 3-0 in their semi-final penalty shoot-out on Wednesday after a 0-0 draw.

"This football season is drawing to a close, and that means that people are almost hitting a wall when it comes to their physical performance," said Low.

"We will be trying flat out to pull it off again, and I hope - I am actually quite positive - that we can do that versus Chile."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Low on high for big clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe