Kieran Pender’s match report
So that’s about us – thanks for your company and comments, and see you in not very much time at all for yet more football. Night!
German players and staff flood onto the pitch and form a circle, bouncing around with shouts of “hey”. It’s whatever.
But Germany are not whatever; they are the best international side in the world; their second team is among the best international sides in the world; and they deserved their win tonight by virtue of scoring more goals than their opponents. Chile, though, were terrific in the first half and ought to have equalised towards the end of the second; they are probably the funnest side in the international game and we can look forward to seeing them in Russia next summer.
GERMANY WIN THE CONFEDERATIONS CUP!
Full-time: Chile 0-1 Germany
90+5 min Sanchez sees Hector funnelling back onto the line by the near post, so goes towards the far, keeper’s side … it’s on target, but in ensuring that he fails to impart requisite power and Ter Stegen pushes away well.
90+4 min Oh aye … Ginter fouls Sagal, 23 yards out, just left of the D….
90+3 min Stindl finds space inside the box and holds it up, but Medel is having no such thing, hurling himself between man and ball to win the free-kick.
90+3 min Rudy is late on Vidal, so is booked.
90+1 min Sule replaces Goretzka.
90 min There shall be five added minutes.
90 min Can climbs through Sanchez and finding himself flat on stomach, flicks both feet up above his head; a ballsy move, given, the massive of maniacs congregated above him. There’s a minor scuffle after which he’s booked, then Bravo is too – presumably for his role in the repechage.
89 min The only problem with VAR is that most decisions aren’t black and white,” says David Flynn, “so the referees are left in the awkward position of having seen it 4 or 5 times and still don’t know what’s right or wrong. Oh, and it’s taking too long to use, nobody knows when it’s being used, nobody can hear what’s being asked, nobody can hear the decisions, nobody is quite sure when it can be used and the refs are now open to player pressure to use it for every foul. Apart from that it’s working well though I think.”
It’s making adults of us all.
88 min Germany are killing this softly, moving downfield and finding Goretzka, who lifts into the box … Draxler arrives, but takes the header away from Rudy who was far better placed, and the ball flies over the bar.
86 min “Ronnie, we’re mates aren’t we? You know who I am, don’t you? Love, Michael.”
84 min Fantastic play from Puch, blazing across the box after a loose ball and arriving in front of Bravo, turning, falling, and laying into the path of Sagal. The goal is gaping, but he leans back, snatches, and sidefoots hard and high. Chile won’t get a better chance than that.
84 min Here’s the thing about VAR: it’s a football match, it really doesn’t matter.
82 min Emre Can strides forward and has no help, so takes the longest route he can find, eventually unloaded close to the corner flag. I wonder if he can develop next season – he’s shown an ability to move that we’ve not really seen much of in the Premier League.
81 min Double-change for Chile; off go Aranguiz and Vargas, on come Sagal and Puch.
80 min Aranguiz shoots low from 20 yards, Ter Stegen tipping around the post. The corner comes to nowt.
79 min Germany decide to hang on, Can replacing Werner. I guess Low prefers Stindl’s ability to hold the ball up, but Werner’s pace might’ve been more useful. How man World Cups has he won anyway?
78 min First hilarious gag about what’ll happen if this goes to penalties.
75 min Brilliant from Sanchez, charging into the box down its left and reaching a loose ball ahead of Rudy, tapping inside for Vidal. He shoots high and punds the grass in fury, but Sanchez is adamant Rudy then fouled him, and the Chile players make enough fuss such that the ref decides to look at the replay. He is satisfied with his original decision, but oughtn’t to have checked just because one set of players got so very over-tired.
74 min Isla finds Aranguiz, who squares for Vargas; falling, he drives a low shot with zoots just wide of goal. Chile are coming in the air tonight!
74 min “Never touched him, ref!”
72 min Chile have blown themselves out now; they’re still a threat, but not quite so vicious. But here’s Alexis Sanchez, burrowing into the box, nipping across Rudiger and having his shot blocked by Rudy. Germany will score a second on the break, I’d say.
70 min “The worst thing about VAR is that it could eliminate snide play from the game,” emails Liam Moseley.
I could not agree more; there’s nothing like it.
68 min “Was this video referee one of the judges on the Pacquiao-Horn bout last night?” asks David Wall. Sadly I’ve not yet seen that, but the reports I read thought it was a fair call. I’ve no idea what the ref thought he saw.
66 min Eventually the free-kick comes in, Medel does enough to put Rudiger off, and Bravo fields.
65 min Still we wait. Clive uses the phrase “cheekbreaker”; Jara gets a yellow. I guess the rationale is that there’s doubt he intended it; there’s no rationale, of course he intended it!
63 min This game is increasingly scrumptious, and Jara nips in on Werner, wins the challenge, and lands a cracking elboid on the jaw. Nothing happens, then the ref gets a message and that’ll surely be a red card. For his part, Werner is still clutching his coupon.
62 min “The next goal either way could be massive”; do you think, Clive? Chile win a corner down the left, curled in by Valencia; Ter Stegen lands a beaut of an uppercut to send it downfield.
59 min Kimmich doesn’t like the height of Bravo’s leg so leaves his own foot in; Vidal, his club-mate, pursues him, while Medel shoves him repeatedly in face and neck, school-bully-style. Kimmich and Vidal are booked.
57 min Jara’s foul on Kimmich gives Germany a free-kick out on the right and Hector curls in a beautiful cross; Mustafi is up, but a phalanx of defenders are too, and the sheer weight of bodies is enough to block the header before Vidal clears from on the ground.
55 min Brilliant from Draxler, putting the ball into space behind Hernandez and powering after it with alarming pace. Arriving into the box, he tries a cross-shot, but Jara does just enough to block behind; the corner comes to nowt.
54 min Diaz must be injured; he departs, with Valencia, a winger, replacing him. We’ll see in a minute what that means as far as the Chilean formation goes, but my guess is everyone will charge everywhere.
53 min Sanchez, who’s been quiet by his standards, picks up a loose ball and drives at the heart of the German defence, playing off Vidal and making his way around its left side. He then digs out a cross, which sails behind.
52 min Diaz finds Aranguiz, who moves the ball out to Isla; he crosses first time, but can’t pick out a man and Germany get it away. Isla has been brilliant so far.
50 min Vidal turns up at right-back, lifting the ball over Draxler and setting up another attack. He has been ridiculously good these last two games.
48 min Sanchez lifts one into the box for Vargas, but Rudiger heads away. Incidentally, we’ve seen more or less nothing of Kimmich and Hector tonight, another sign of how well Chile have played.
47 min “If Alexis wants to win things, why would he want to move to Man City? What have they won recently?” asks Tom Wilkinson.
Er, I said compete, but they won the title in 2014, got to the Champions League semis in 2016, and will probably compete for the title next season. Arsenal probably won’t.
46 min Clive Tyldesley is dissing the Confederations Cup; brave move, that.
46 min Germany set us away again.
The boyz are back on the baize.
“The comments at 31’ are painful for this Gooner,” emails William Hargreaves. “Possibly a reflection of some truth in them. But if Lacazette comes, Cazorla returns to fitness, and maybe one more purchase (is talk of Lemar, Mahrez, Mbappe too optimistic?) are the Arsenal really that far behind MCFC?’
Yes, I’d say so. I’d be amazed is Mbappe happened, and the other two, though good players, are not definitive.
“Highest standard? Did you not see the Chile mistake for the Germany goal?” tweets Mitch.
Yes I did, but I prefer to judge on 45 minutes, not 0.45 seconds.
Half-time: Chile 0-1 Germany
A breathless, brilliant half, everything a football match should be.
45 min Dearie Chile! Another ridiculous defensive error from Chile, Jara passing directly to Draxler, loitering outside the box. He zones forward and inclines right, disgusing the pass back left for Goretzka, again bursting into the box. He should crack first time with his left foot but can’t help coming inside onto his right, by which time the angle is narrow and Bravo(!) saves.
44 min Vargas and Isla combine, the former sending a ball into the corner which the latter has no business winning … yet he does, sliding in Ryan Giggs-style to rob Rudiger, stand up and cross in one movement; Sanchez heads over the top.
42 min This is the fastest, most compelling, highest-standard international game I’ve seen in bloody ages.
40 min Werner scurries down the left – he’s an interesting player, not quite elite but with an elite mentality to make things happen. He squares into the path of the arriving Draxler who, with defenders converging, opts for a sidefooter towards the near post. But the rush means contact is too close to the heel, forcing the ball wide.
39 min “Glenn Hoddle compares Sánchez with Peter Beardsley (in terms of wanting to retrieve a ball they’ve lost, at least),” emails Charles Antaki. “I suppose that’s fair, if you set aside self-effacement, humility and not really scoring that many goals.”
Not sure I agree with that; Sanchez scores bare goals, more than Beardsley ever did, and the frankly astonishing effort and availability you get from him is a different kind of self-effacement and humility. In mine.
38 min Germany are coming now, and Goretzka snaps a ball into Werner on the run; that’s lovely vision and execution. But Werner isn’t up to handling it, unable to control properly and bringing it back inside to use his right foot when it needed the left. Isla nips in, and the chance goes.
36 min Rudy slides a lovely pass ahead of Goretzka, breaking into the box on its right-hand side; he wants to score goals, him. But not this time, a side-footer zipping just wide.
36 min Chile remind me of Leicester’s champions, in a way; their ferocity allows their best players to flourish and gets the rest playing to their maximum.
34 min Draxler leg-kicks Diaz right on the side of the knee – that looked a right sair yin, and its perpetrator does well to avoid a booking.
32 min Vidal finds space outside the box yet again, getting under a shot. But Germany would really do to put someone on him, perhaps their spare centre-back.
31 min “Does the fact that Sanchez has been getting coy with the press about whether he’ll be moving from Arsenal suggest that now would actually be a good time for them to wish him well and take the money?” asks David Wall. “What sets him apart is the absence of that primadonna-ish behaviour, and there’s a risk that he’s getting above his station if he’s starting to adopt it. If he gets vain it might get in the way of his ruthlessness and will-to-win, which is really what raises him above the very good into the excellent.”
Not for myself, Clive. His ideas are of his station – he wants to win and compete for stuff, with players as good as him, while making as much money as possible – and if he leaves Arsenal will replace him with someone less good.
30 min That goal, then; more horribly hilarious, hilariously horrible with every viewing.
20 min Vidal shoots from distance, Ter Stegen parries back into play, AND ALEXIS SANCHEZ PUSHES THE REBOUND WIDE. Oh!
28 min Germany are starting to break on Chile now. They’re still being dominated in general play, but are countering when attacks break down.
26 min “Same booze ban in Chile,” reassures Piotr Kozak “but you should have seen the queues yesterday in all the bottle shops … and right now the air is thick with the smoke of barbecued beef and chorizo … tis the tradition…”
The other day, I heard someone say thoritho – and I wasn’t even at the Guardian. Worry not, he was promptly neutralised.
24 min Another lovely move from Chile, a long one-two between Vidal and Isla setting ther latter for a cross; he cuts back for the arriving Aranguiz, who tries to glance into the far corner off his instep, instead feathering nowhere.
23 min So how will Chile react? Hopefully with even more profound fury than we’ve enjoyed thus far.
GOAL! Chile 0-1 Germany (Stindl 21)
Oh, dear dear! Diaz turns on the ball just outside the Chile box, failing to note Werner over his shoulder. He snaffles possession and squares to Stindl, who fails to get down on his knees and score with his tongue, somehow managing to sidefoot home instead, and we have perhaps the least coming goal of all-time. Jogi Low celebrates by revealing some monstrously sweaty pits.
19 min Chile make to play it in then play it short, a man breaking off the wall to give them an advantage. Suddenly, Diaz backheels up the right side of the box for Isla, who swipes a shot so useless it skews across the face of the box.
18 min Vidal gets goalside of Goretzka, body between man and ball, then waits for the inevitable foul challenge; free-kick Chile, right of centre, 30 yards out.
17 min Chile move the ball across the face of the German box through Beausejour, Diaz and Vargas, whose poor touch sets the move back. But Vidal is quickly back dictating, and his pass for Diaz in the inside-left channel wins a corner; it comes to nothing.
16 min Imagine this Chile team in a Royal Rumble; I’m going Medel.
14 min Rudy finds Stindl down the right and his cross is a bazzer, looking for Werner; Aranguiz does really well to intercede at cost of a corner, which Mustafi heads over the bar.
13 min Rudiger, deep at left-back, snaps a dangerous pass into Goretzka who panics as it arrives and fails to kill it, turn, and spray a visionary forward pass. So Hernandez nips in and finds Vargas, who shoots from 20 yards; again, it fails to trouble Ter Stegen.
12 min Vidal is absolutely buzzing, haring across from left to centre-midfield whereupon he easily robs Werner and sets an attack underway.
11 min Germany have yet to venture out of their own half.
11 min “This Minerva ball?” emails Dom Thomas; “a thing of beauty”. I cannae find a legit photo of the artefact so you’ll need to google it I’m afraid.
10 min Basically, all Low needed to do was naturalise Marouane Fellaini and the Chile press is broken. What are they paying him for, exactly?
9 min This Chile team are an absolute pleasure.
7 min Vidal is dominating the, er, “half-spaces”, and Diaz finds him in one 30 yards from goal. He advances, then drags a low shot which Ter Stegen fields low easily enough.
7 min Chile did this to Germany in the group game; I’m surprised yet not surprised that Jogi Low hasn’t devised a counter.
5 min Chile have started brilliantly psychopathically – again – and press Germany hard in centrefield, Vidal robbing Stindl and finding Aranguiz who pelts into the box. Rudiger, though, does very well to slide in with a shot imminent, blocking … but only into the path of Vidal, whose leather lungs have caught him up with play. He shoots low and hard from about eight yards, but straight at Ter Stegen. Breathless gear so far.
3 min Nice from Chile, Vidal sliding Vargas into the box down its left-hand side; offside, reckon the officials to minor consternation.
1 min “Bit of chaos on the streets of Santiago right now,” emails Piotr Kozak. “Today Chile is holding its primaries for presidential and legislative chamber candidates.. and everyone’s trying to vote before the match … which means the streets are all snarled up in traffic jams … am now standing in a queue to vote … most of those next to me are women … looks like most of the guys sacrificed their civic responsibilities and stayed home for the final…”
I was in Mexico for the Euro 2000 final, which coincided with their general election. This meant no booze – it’s banned on the two days to quieten tempers – and cutting from the match to the announcement of the result. Just what you need.
1 min Techno, techno, techno, techno; we’ve started.
Reigning world champions Germany will become the number 1 team in the world if they win this game in normal or extra-time. Er, ok….
Here’s Kieran Pender, our man on the scene…
“The crowd is building at the stadium of many names (Saint Petersburg Stadium to Fifa, Krestovsky Stadium to locals and Zenit Arena to its incoming tenants), and a full-house seems to be on the cards. Crowds have disappointed at the Confederations Cup, with many group stages matches being played at half-empty stadiums, but the lure of a thrilling final has brought out the locals. The South American finalist is well-supported – Chile brought the largest contingent of travelling fans – while German supporters are sparse. Whatever the name, this is an impressive stadium. The history of its construction, however, is less so”.
The band stops but the players are still going, Arturo Vidal in particular exhibiting particularly outstanding kavanah.
Anthem time. The Chile fans are giving it some and so are the players; there is nothing like tuneless team singing.
Out come the teams!
“I watched the third place play-off between Portugal and Mexico, though other commitments pulled me away at the end of normal time,” emails Kari Tulinius. “It was a pretty good game, all told, though I can’t imagine it was a fixture anyone involved had dreamt about playing as a little kid. Of course, the ultimate game no one grows up dreaming about playing is the World Cup third place play-off. Yet it is often the most entertaining match of a World Cup, if lacking in the inherent dramatic weight of the main show. The Confederations Cup is a bit like that, a competition of third place play-offs before the main show next year. Because of that I have high hopes for the final between Chile and Germany. Matches where there’s not much shame in losing and a bit of glory in victory are often entertaining.”
What were these other commitments? I cannot fathom any that could possibly be worthy of such destruction. Belgium-France in 1986 was a jazzer, and it’s also true that Belgium had already won the one that mattered with perhaps my favourite of the genre.
So, how is this game going to go? Answering my own question, Garry Cook-style, I wonder about that Germany de-fence – there might be three of them, but I’m not entirely convinced by any of those centre-backs. On the other hand, if Goretzka and Draxler can get a hold of midfield, they have far too much class for Chile. I’m going for “The Germans”.
“Does the picture above indicate that FIFA has finally realised,” begins David Wall; the answer is, of course, “NO”. But he continues nonetheless: “…that the Telstar was the pinnacle of World Cup footballs (perhaps only challenged by the Tango), and will be going retro in next year’s tournament? No more of your Jabulanis, Fevernovas, Questras, or whatever else the random-name-generator throws up.”
The Telstar was and is a boss, but the Tango remains the king. I also like the white one with red octagons used in Canon League Division 1 round about 1983.
“It’s funny,” begins Mark Turner. “You go ‘de de de-de’, but I’ve always heard ‘Ba ba ba-ba ba-ba ba ba ba-ba, ba ba ba-ba ba-ba ba ba ba-ba’.
Is this like the way different languages hear animal sounds in a different way?”
Let’s call the whole thing off. I actually swithered over de-de or der-der, but whever I’ve heard it sung at the game – to Shaka Hislop and Peter Crouch, for example – it was definitely de de de-de. That’s my rationale right there.
So Germany make one change, Mustafi in for Henrichs; Chile make no changes.
Types and Stereotypes
Chile (4-3-1-2, obviously): Bravo; Isla, Medel, Aranguiz, Jara; Hernandez, Diaz, Beausejour; Vidal, Vargas, Sanchez.
Germany (3-5-2, natch): Ter Stegen; Ginter, Rudiger, Mustafi; Kimmich, Rudy, Goretzka, Draxler, Hector; Stindl, Werner.
Choking up, here.
De de de-de de-de de de de-de, de de de-de de-de de de de-de; roll up, roll up, feast your eyes on international football’s finest freakshow!
And I say that not as criticism but as compliment; there might never have been a team as fit and fearsome as Chile’s whale-wrestlers, while Germany surely possess the deepest squad of all-time. The serenity of their progress here, without their first XI and with a variety of players configured in a variety of formations, has been remarkable; the question now is whether they have the nous and the nastiness to take a final from the double Copa América champions. We’re in for a treat.
Kick-off: 7pm BST
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