- Stindl shines in front of goal
- Hector continues to develop
- Goretzka provides consistency
For Germany’s national team in particular, the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 is reminiscent of a big talent show – and a ‘recall’ to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ in 12 months’ time is the grand prize.
After two matches, three standout performers have already emerged.
1 Lars Stindl
Although Stindl became Germany’s first goalscorer at this tournament just five minutes into the match against Australia, it was his selection as a lone striker over more established attacking players that emphasised the confidence Joachim Low has in him.
"My role was to disrupt their build-up play at the front and constantly make myself available for passes when we won the ball," the Borussia Monchengladbach striker told FIFA immediately after the game. "We deliberately put Lars Stindl up front today because he works the ball well and can hold it up – and he did a fantastic job," confirmed Low.
What makes Stindl unusual is that, at 28 years old, he is far from being the typical talented, aspiring youngster keen to make a name for himself. "Right now I’m just taking it all in," he explained, having made his international debut just a few weeks earlier. "There are plenty of feel-good moments – the whole tournament, the organisation and the atmosphere surrounding it."
2 Jonas Hector
The Cologne left-back’s ticket to Russia 2018 seemed secure even before the tournament began.
Hector has been one of the world champions’ key players since UEFA EURO 2016, working as steadily and dependably as clockwork on the left wing. The only criticism levelled against him is an apparent lack of attacking intent.
In light of this, his assist against Chile suggested that he is keen to continue developing this area of his game. This was reinforced by the fact that Low trusted him to run the left wing alone, both in attack and defence, for the second match in succession.
3 Leon Goretzka
The 22-year-old Schalke midfielder had a tough act to follow against Chile after scoring, providing an assist and even winning his team a penalty in the win over Australia. After waxing lyrical about his performance on his international debut, the press simply referred to him as “unremarkable” against the South Americans.
Yet this is a success in itself. Playing in his preferred position meant he was confronted with a player of the quality of Arturo Vidal, and his almost flawless performance against a top-class opponent like Chile only emphasised his talent further. "We tried to control the game by keeping the ball, kept our heads and managed to play our way back into the game," said Goretzka, who appears to have a bright future ahead of him – perhaps even starting right now. After all, when it comes to Joachim Low, consistent performances are much more important than one outstanding game.