Germany joined Chile at the top of Confederations Cup Group B thanks to a comfortable win over Australia, though the game ended up far closer than the balance of play suggested it would be.
Germany dominated the game from start to finish, taking the lead after just five minutes when Lars Stindl drove home his first international goal. But they failed to convert dominance into goals, and after Trent Sainsbury missed a sitter, Tom Rogic equalised just before the break thanks an error from Bernd Leno. Australia were level for less than three minutes, Julian Draxler’s penalty restoring Germany’s advantage even closer to the break after Massimo Luongo fouled Leon Goretzka.
Australia then threatened for a brief moment at the start of the second half, but then Joshua Kimmich found Leon Goretzka, and with 42 minutes still to go, his deft finish seemed to have ended the match as a contest. Australia, though, improved thereafter, closing to within a goal when another error from Leno allowed Juric to narrow the gap to a goal. And they pushed hard for an equaliser towards the end, but Germany were too strong, hanging on without undue alarm or surprise.
What were Australia doing in the first half? Germany are a good side, but Australia seemed to have no plan for combating their strength, allowing Kimmich and Brandt the run of the right flank and committing to a press they did not have the athleticism to pull off. They improved greatly in the second half when playing to their strengths.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Leon Goretzka (Germany): Intelligent and elegant, he is always available to receive the ball and penetrating in how he moves it. A proper player to whom Australia could not get close.
Australia: Ryan 7, Degenek 6, Sainsbury 5, Wright 6, Luongo 5, Milligan 5, Leckie 5, Mooy 6, Rogic 5, Behich 5, Juric 6. Subs: Kruse 7, Troisi 7, Cahill 6.
Germany: Leno 4, Kimmich 8, Mustafi 6, Rudiger 6, Hector 6, Brandt 7, Rudy 6, Goretzk 8, Draxler 5,Wagner 4, Stindl 6. Subs: Werner 7, Sule 6, Can 6.
5’ – GOAL! Australia 0-1 Germany (Stindl) Brandt hares down the right, cuts into the box, and as Behich comes across, clips back a lovely ball for Stindl to snap home his first international goal.
15’ – Germany win a free-kick down the right when Luongo fouls Draxler; Hector swings over, and Stindl is up, but can only head over the top.
16’ – Goretzka nashes down the right and swings over a fine cross on the half-volley … Wagner does very well to find the space to attack it, diving over Sainsbury. Once he’s there he should score really. but the header flies wide.
23’ – Goretzka is also a player, tall and elegant, and his accepts a pass in midfield, looks forward, and clips a lovely ball of the top for Wagner. Having beaten the offside trap, he turns and moves towards goal, takes three touches where two would suffice and thus moves wider than ideal, before dragging a shot wide of the far post. He never looked confident taking that on, but it really was a good chance.
27’ – Germany win a corner and take it quickly, working the ball back to Brandt just outside the box. He has a look, then curls a shot towards but not that close to the far post, and Ryan dives to shove it away.
36’ – Hoddle criticises Brandt for making a mess of “what we call the little simple things”; we being? Anyway, as a consequence of a sloppy cession of possession, Australia win a free-kick down the left, over which Mooy stands. AND WHAT A MISS THIS IS! The ball is flighted over the top, behind the German defence, and Sainsbury strolls through the middle but can’t get the ball in the middle of his forehead, knocking it in the direction he’s facing, wide. Oh dear.
40’ – Kimmich is very, very good, and he sends Draxler away down the right to cross low and hard into the middle. Ryan can’t get close, and with Stindl ready for the tap-in, Leckie shows admirable skill to slide towards his own net and force the ball over the top when an own-goal looked the likeliest outcomes.
41’ – GOAL! Australia 1-1 Germany (Rogic): Draxler gives it away on halfway and three accurate passes see Rogic lank clear with the ball. As he nears the box, he lets fly with a left-footer, which skews off his toe and into Mustafi’s back, bouncing back into his path. So he tries again, this time getting an effort on target, but even then Leno needs to dive over the top of it for it to go in.
43’ – PENALTY TO GERMANY! Goretzka feeds Steindl and chasing the return, gets himself in front of Luongo inside the box. So he waits for the tackle, allows himself to be felled when it arrives, and there you go.
44’ – GOAL! Australia 1-2 Germany (Draxler pen) Ryan dives right, Draxler clips centre-left, and the scoreline once more reflects the play in some small way.
48’ – GOAL! Australia 1-3 Germany (Goretzka) This is a lovely finish, but Australia are really not paying attention. Brandt finds Kimmich on the right touchline, who lifts a lovely ball into the box. Goretzka advances, keeps his cool, and punches a side-footer high past Ryan at the near post.
53’ – GOAL! Australia 2-3 Germany (Juric) Leno is having an absolute shocker! Mooy shoots, the wall deflects, and Rogic’s shot then hits Juric; Leno saves, but only fumbles the ball back into play, and this time Juric snaffles the chance. The ref looks at the footage, but sees no reason to change his decision.
75’ – Germany haven’t created much these last 10 minutes, but as I type that Hector robs Sainsbury and forced the ball through to Werner, who kicks through Mooy’s challenge on the left of the box and swivels to drag a low shot against the base of the post.