In the penultimate game of this years FIFA Confederations Cup, the Chilean National Team and the German National Team clashed in an entertaining battle, after a prior meeting in the group stages. There, they had played each other in the Kazan Arena, a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. Germany were fresh from a 4-1 victory over Mexico, while Chile moved past Portugal via a tense penalty shootout where Claudio Bravo saved all three penalties against him.
Joachim Low built a team around young, promising players for this World Cup warm-up competition. The German National Team was the youngest of the tournament, averaging 23.8 years old. Led by Julian Draxler, the Germans came into the finals undefeated, winning twice in the group stage and once in the semi-finals. Their only draw was against Chile. Like their opposition, La Roja came into the finals undefeated, picking up 5 points in the group stage and beating Portugal in the semi-final.
Unlike previous tournaments, where they would emphasize possession, the Germans played with rapid pace, punishing their opponents with deadly counter attacks. Quick runners and technical dribblers, such as Julian Draxler and Timo Werner, were the backbone to this style of play that let the team score so many goals throughout the tournament.
Chile, on the other hand, played with a high press. Time over time, we’ve seen their their fullbacks play as wingers and their center backs push up into the midfield. This style of play puts lots of pressure on their opposition, preventing them from playing out of the back.
The match started off strongly for the Chileans. Their high press prevented Germany from playing out of the back, a tactic that the Germans often utilize. However, everything changed in the 19th minute, when Marcelo Diaz gave the ball away to Timo Werner, who found Lars Stindl. The Gladbach forward tapped it in the back of the net.
Despite this being the only goal, there were still many chances for both teams to score. Germany continued to unleash deadly counter attacks that nearly extended their lead, while Chile missed some great chances to level, one of which includes a freekick taken by Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez in the 93rd minute, which was saved by ter Stegen.
Not only was this a matchup between two national teams, but it was a matchup between club teammates. Alexis Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi are teammates on Arsenal, while Arturo Vidal and Joshua Kimmich play together with Bayern Munich.
At the end of the day, the Germans were the stronger team. They took advantage of Chile’s high press by launching counter attacks when their defenders were too high up. But what does this mean for next years World Cup? Using his “B Team,” Joachim Low’s men were able to win their first international tournament since the 2014 World Cup. These young Germans may dominate the world football scene very soon.