World champions Germany secured a first Confederations Cup title after victory against Copa America winners Chile in Sunday’s final in St Petersburg.
Lars Stindl hit the first-half winner following a mistake by Marcelo Diaz.
Chile’s Arturo Vidal and Angelo Sagal both blazed over the bar in the closing stages.
Germany’s Timo Werner was elbowed by Gonzalo Jara, who escaped with a yellow card despite the use of the video assistant referee (VAR).
Earlier, Adrien Silva scored an extra-time penalty as Portugal recovered from a goal down to beat Mexico 2-1 in the third-place play-off in Moscow.
Luis Neto bundled into his own net to hand Mexico the lead, but Pepe stabbed home a stoppage-time equaliser to force an extra 30 minutes at Spartak Stadium.
Germany’s future brighter than ever
Having seen their team win the European Under-21 Championship in Poland on Friday, Germany’s fans can celebrate another impressive tournament victory 12 months before they launch the defence of their world title.
Their success in Russia has been achieved without a number of players who helped beat Argentina in Rio three years ago to be crowned world champions.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, midfielders Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos, and forward Thomas Muller have been rested before next summer’s World Cup.
That has allowed a new generation to come to the fore.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka, 22, has excelled while 21-year-old forward Werner has also shown he has a bright international future ahead of him.
It was Werner who seized on a moment of madness by Diaz to create the goal. The Chilean gave away possession on the edge of his own penalty area, allowing the RB Leipzig forward to square the ball for Stindl to tap home.
Germany should have doubled their lead before the break after another error. Jara’s lapse in concentration let in Goretzka but Claudio Bravo did well to spread his frame and block.
VAR is questioned… again
Fifa’s decision to trial the VAR system has led to a series of debatable moments throughout the tournament and the final provided one more.
Referee Milorad Mazic used a video replay to watch Jara’s challenge on Werner, and decided the elbow across the face from the Chilean was worthy of a yellow card and not a red.
The process took around four minutes, and while the technology was used properly, it shows that referee’s decisions are still open to interpretation and conjecture.
In the group stages, six “game-changing decisions” were made using VAR, along with another 29 “major incidents” – according to Fifa’s head referee Massimo Busacca. That is 35 decisions in 12 games.
There was controversy in Chile’s semi-final win, when Portugal defender Jose Fonte appeared to foul Francisco Silva in the box, but the referee did not award a penalty – or ask to see the incident again.
In the group game between Germany and Cameroon, the referee sent off the wrong player after watching a replay, before correcting the mistake following a second viewing.
And in Mexico’s group game against New Zealand, there was a long delay late in the game as the referee watched back a melee between players. He initially booked one player, before stopping the game again and booking two more.
Chile’s thoughts turn to World Cup qualification
Chile had 22 shots during a high-quality final yet failed to find the net and must now turn their thoughts to ensuring they return to Russia next summer.
Despite back-to-back Copa America successes, they are by no means assured of a place at the World Cup.
They sit fourth in their qualifying group and have work to do in the last four games to ensure they do not miss out.
Chile will have to cut out mistakes at the back and improve their poor finishing.
Before thrusting his elbow into Werner’s face, Jara gave the ball away carelessly in another incident, but Bravo saved his embarrassment by preventing Goretzka from making it 2-0.
Boss Juan Antonio Pizzi will be just as concerned at the terrible close-range misses by Vidal and substitute Sagal when Chile threatened an equaliser in the closing stages.
‘Even more special’
Germany captain Julian Draxler: “We fought well and deserved this win. We hadn’t played together before the tournament, which makes it even more valuable.
“Every title is special, but with this young team, it’s even more so. Now we can all go on holiday – and even take the trophy with us.”
Chile captain Claudio Bravo: “There was not much difference between the two teams.
“We are sad not to have won, but we played against a world-class team and must learn from our mistakes.”
Source: BBC Sports