Tue, Jul 04, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Loew hails his Confederations Cup superstars

AFP, ST PETERSBURG, Russia

Germany’s Timo Werner, second right, lifts the trophy after winning the FIFA Confederations Cup final against Chile in St Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Joachim Loew on Sunday hailed Germany’s next generation of stars after beating Chile 1-0 in the FIFA Confederations Cup final — but added that the challenge is to defend the FIFA World Cup title next year.

Lars Stindl’s simple tap-in was enough to seal Germany’s victory in the final in St Petersburg, Russia, as the youthful world champions lifted the Confederations Cup for the first time.

Germany’s head coach cut a soggy figure at the post-match news conference after his players stormed the stage and showered him in beer.

“I am immensely proud of this team, we have only been together for three-and-a-half weeks,” Loew said in a beer-soaked shirt. “You could feel something was happening in training, we came together and it’s a really deserved win.”

Loew took a gamble by leaving first-choice stars such as Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng, Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil at home and taking inexperienced youngsters to Russia.

Germany captain Julian Draxler was voted Player of the Tournament and striker Timo Werner finished as the top scorer in Russia with three goals and two assists.

German football has a bright future after the nation’s Under-21 side were crowned European champions on Friday in Poland.

However, head coach Loew said the hard work for his rising stars is just beginning as they bid to earn a place in die Mannschaft’s squad for next year’s World Cup.

Only three of the Confederations Cup winning team — Jonas Hector, Joshua Kimmich and Julian Draxler — are first-choice starters.

“Despite our success here and with the juniors in Poland, we’ll still have to reconfirm our victories next year [at the World Cup], but the job starts now, the work is just beginning,” Loew said. “The young ones are only just coming up, this is the first tournament for many of these players. They have done well, but staying at the top is another matter and we will have to work hard to defend our title next year.”

“The team had to fight back, the Chileans are very robust and things were heating up in the second half, we were fighting for every meter to defend our lead,” he said. “It was a magic match for our young players, they haven’t had much experience, but they showed their single-minded determination, which was quite impressive.”

Chile were lucky not to have defender Gonzalo Jara sent off for elbowing Werner in the face in the second half, but despite a review by the video assistant referee (VAR), Jara was only booked.

“I didn’t see it from where I was standing, but the VAR was consulted and I saw the reply,” Loew said. “It could have been worthy of a red card and I think if a referee sees something like that, he could and should have dismissed him.”

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