FIFA Confederations Cup 2017
Olimpiyskiy Stadion Fisht, Sochi, Russia
44′ Draxler (P)
World Champions Germany got their 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign underway with a narrow 3-2 victory over Asian Champions Australia at the Olimpiyskiy Stadion Fisht in Sochi, in what was their opening fixture in Group B.
Leon Goretzka’s early second-half strike proved to be the difference, following Julian Draxler’s spot-kick, which put the Germans ahead just before the break after Tom Rogic cancelled out Lars Stindl’s early opener. Tomi Juric reduced the deficit for the Socceroos, but it wasn’t enough as die Mannschaft held-on to move into second in the Group.
The World Champions started in the ascendancy and opened the scoring after just five minutes when Julian Brandt surged forward before pulling the ball back into the path of Stindl, who fired the ball home.
Ten minutes later die Mannschaft went close to doubling their lead when Sandro Wagner met a pin-point cross from Goretzka with a diving-header that drifted inches wide of the far-post.
Five minutes later the Germans went close again when Brandt cut-inside to fire an effort that forced Matt Ryan into a good save at his near-post.
Two minutes later Germany should have doubled their lead when Wagner was sent through on-goal by Goretzka, but with just the keeper to beat, he fired just wide of the far-post.
Four minutes later the Germans went close when a Jonas Hector corner was worked to Brandt, who curled an effort at-goal that Ryan palmed away.
In the 36th minute the Asian Champions, who had rarely threatened, should have levelled the scores when Trent Sainsbury was found from a freekick, the defender looked set to score, but he miscued his header, which drifted wide when he should have scored.
Five minutes later the Australians drew level when Rogic fired the ball home under Bernd Leno after the Celtic midfielder’s initial strike was blocked by Shkodran Mustafi.
However their lead lasted barely three minutes as the Germans went in front again from the penalty-spot through Draxler, who sent Ryan the wrong way after Massimo Luongo’s rash challenge on Goretzka was punished.
Three minutes into the restart, Germany extended their lead when Joshua Kimmich’s brilliant lofted-pass found Goretzka, who fired home to beat Ryan at the near-post.
Eight minutes later, Australia reduced the deficit when a deflected strike from Rogic was spilled by Leno into the path of Juric, who fired the loose ball home. The referee used the Video Assistant Referee system before confirming that the goal stood.
Two minutes later the Socceroos thought they should have had a penalty when Aziz Behich was nudged to the ground in the penalty area by Kimmich, but the referee was unmoved.
In the 72nd minute Australia went close when substitute James Troisi curled an effort at-goal that Leno saved well.
Two minutes later Germany very nearly added to their tally when substitute Timo Werner cut-inside to fire an effort against the post, with Ryan well-beaten.
Four minutes later the Australians went close to levelling the scores when Juric did well to keep possession before teeing-up substitute Robbie Kruse, but his curled-effort was saved well by Leno.
The result meant that Germany moved into second in Group B, behind leaders Chile on goal-difference, while Australia dropped to third above Cameroon on goal-difference.