Germany, Chile advance despite bumps in the road at Confederations Cup

Timo Werner (11) scored twice to lead Germany to the top of Group B and into the semifinals in Russia. (EFE)

There were some bumps in the road, but ultimately Group B finished as most expected it to at the Confederations Cup.

Chile earned a nervy 1-1 draw against a physical Australian side in Moscow, while Germany turned back Cameroon 3-1 in Sochi. Both teams advance to the semifinals, to be played later this week.

The Chileans, who were tipped as one of the favorites in Russia, had a shot ring across their bow right before halftime when lazy defending and a cool finish by James Troisi gave the Australians a 1-0 lead:

Australia needed to win by two goals to advance to the semifinals, which put the possibility of a stunning upset very much in play, as did the Socceroos’ rough-and-tumble tactics.

At least until Martin Rodriguez poached home a ball in the 67th minute for his first career international goal, all but sealing Chile’s advancement:

Germany had an easier go of things against Cameroon, with hyped 21-year-old striker Timo Werner scoring twice in the second half to win the group for the reigning World Cup champions.

The Germans too had a scare shortly before halftime, however, when Andre Zambo Anguissa played a deft touch back across goal that forced keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to come up with a big save:

Three minutes into the second half, Julian Draxler played a clever back-heel nutmeg pass to Kerem Demirbay, who scored his first international goal with a rocket into the upper-right corner to send Germany off and running:

This being the 2017 Confederations Cup, however, a day simply couldn’t pass without more Video Assistant Referee controversy, and Cameroon was the victim. In the 63rd minute, Ernest Mabouka was initially shown a yellow card for what amounted to an aerial stamping of Emre Can’s leg, but VAR replay retroactively awarded him a red card.

Sunday’s results set up a pair of intriguing semifinal clashes. Wednesday’s in Kazan pits reigning European champion Portugal against back-to-back Copa America winners Chile, while Thursday will see Mexico test itself against Germany’s young but loaded side in Sochi.

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VAR is a (failing) talking point at Confederations Cup
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