Germany holds on to claim Confederations Cup
LARS Stindl's first-half strike saw Germany beat Chile 1-0 in Monday morning's (AEST) Confederations Cup final in St Petersburg.
The Borussia Monchengladbach striker took advantage of some woeful defending by Chile to fire the world champions ahead after just 20 minutes.
And despite some close calls in the second half, Joachim Loew's side held on to claim their first-ever Confederations Cup title.
Arturo Vidal had said in the lead-up to the game that Chile could prove they are the world's best team, and throw down a marker for next year's World Cup, by beating Germany, and Juan Antonio Pizzi's side started as though they meant business.
The Copa America winners have numerous chances to take an early lead at the Krestovsky Stadium, only to find Marc-Andre ter Stegen in inspired form in the German goal.
The Barcelona goalkeeper had to be alert to keep out Vidal's close-range effort after just five minutes following a strong run into the area by Charles Aranguiz, although he was slightly fortunate a quarter of an hour later.
Again it was the Bayern Munich midfielder trying his luck, this time frim the edge of the area, only for Ter Stegen to fail to gather the ball cleanly. However, luckily for the 'keeper Alexis Sanchez, following in, was unable to take advantage by tucking home the rebound.
And 60 seconds later Chile found themselves behind after a terrible mistake by midfielder Marcelo Diaz, who failed to notice Timo Werner lurking behind him on the edge of his own box.
The forward robbed him of possession, before laying the ball across the six-yard box for Stindl to tap home his third goal of the tournament, and his second already against the South Americans after his equaliser in their group-stage clash.
It could have been worse for Chile though as that man Diaz was again caught napping on the ball, this time by Sebastian Rudy, who released Leon Goretzka down the right-hand channel of the area, only for the midfielder to flash a shot inches past the far post.
Meanwhile, had Julian Draxler's low strike from the edge of the box been on target, rather than just off, then Germany would have gone in 2-0 up at the break. However, as it was the world champions were still fortunate to be ahead.
However, in a disjointed and bad-tempered second period, Germany held on to add a first-ever Confederations Cup title to the European U21 crown they won on Friday night, although Chile will wonder how they failed to level matters late on.
Pizzi threw on Edson Puch and Angelo Sagal in search of an equaliser, with the former seemingly laying a goal on a plate for his fellow substitute, only for the striker to somehow blaze over from just six yards out with the goal gaping.
And despite Ter Stegen doing well to beat clear Alexis Sanchez's stoppage-time free kick, Germany held on to add the Confederations Cup to the World Cup they won this time last year.
However, Lowe and Co will be mindful of the fact that no team has gone on to win the World Cup after claiming the Confederations Cup.