Chile-Germany: What we learned from their Group B match
The 1-1 draw in Kazan last week provided several pointers for both teams
What do they need to repeat or improve on?
All the key statistics ahead of Sunday’s final
By Diego Zandrino with Chile and Steffen Potter with Germany
“We’ll meet again in the final,” Germany’s Joshua Kimmich told Chile star Arturo Vidal after their teams’ 1-1 draw in the Kazan Arena during the group stage of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017. “Yes, we’ll definitely see each other again,” replied the dynamic midfielder, brazenly stealing a biscuit right out of his Bayern Munich team-mate’s hand.
In the end, the players’ predictions were accurate: ten days after their jokey exchange, Chile and Germany will both go in search of a first-ever Confederations Cup crown on Sunday.
FIFA.com takes a look back at the initial clash between La Roja and Die Mannschaft and draws some conclusions ahead of the showpiece match in Saint Petersburg.
*What they need to repeat
*Dominate possession: The South Americans’ best moments came when they had control of the ball, as this not only enabled them to penetrate in a dangerous and incisive manner, but it also allowed them to defend high up the pitch. When they lost the ball, Germany took control of the midfield and Chile lost their fluidity.
Strong pressure and seamless defensive cover: Chile were so impressive in this area that they restricted the Germans to very few clear-cut chances. Unfortunately for them, they paid dearly for their only real covering lapse, when a speedy counter-attack caught them out and resulted in the equaliser. They will be keen to avoid making that same mistake again.
*What they need to improve
*Better energy management: In the Kazan game, the CONMEBOL side put in an almost flawless first-half performance, but the huge physical effort they had expended came back to haunt them in the second period. Against Portugal, on the other hand, they handled this aspect more effectively, and appeared to have reserves of energy to spare, as the game went into extra time. Versus a youthful Germany side on Sunday, this could be a telling factor.
Make the most of your chances: In the first half of their previous encounter, Chile scored early on and proceeded to create a number of excellent chances, but they failed to double their lead, and in the end, had to settle for a draw. This is not, however, an aspect that overly concerns coach Juan Antonio Pizzi or forward Alexis Sanchez, who have both stated that “We’re creating chances and the goals will come.”
Statistics from the first encounter
Shots on target: 3-4
Shots off target: 3-6
Shots blocked: 3-1
What they need to repeat * Take control: While it took the Germans almost the entire first half to get their short passing game going, they did show they were able to effectively do battle with Chile in midfield when required. They subsequently enjoyed significant possession of the ball, with which they probably could and should have done more. They now have the opportunity to rectify that.
Clinical finishing: Joachim Low’s men managed to put away their only real chance in Kazan, and against opponents renowned for their defensive solidity, they will again need to instantly take advantage of any openings that come their way. Their ruthless performance against Mexico in the semi-finals should provide a useful template for this plan.
What they need to improve
Avoid early slip-ups: Germany know that they cannot afford an early lapse in concentration in the match, as conceding another goal in the opening stages to a team that is proficient at holding on to the ball could be calamitous. Again, versus El Tri, it was clear that they are capable of focusing completely when they need to. Stop forwards from getting in behind: The first match exposed the significant difference in speed between the Chilean attackers and the German defenders, especially when the former would smoothly switch sides. The world champions must ensure there is no repeat of this situation in Saint Petersburg, although it will depend on the defensive formation they choose to adopt.