Germany’s Loew looking forward to Mexico clash

AFP, SOCHI, Russia

Tue, Jun 27, 2017 - Page 16

Germany’s Joachim Loew said he is looking forward to facing Mexico on Thursday in the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals after the world champions pipped Chile to top spot in Group B.

Germany play Mexico in Sochi, Russia, for a place in Sunday’s final in St Petersburg, while Chile meet Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the other last-four clash on Wednesday in Kazan.

“Mexico is going to be a tough game, they are a very flexible team with very good players,” said Loew, who became the first head coach to achieve 100 international wins. “We don’t often play central American sides, so that will be interesting for us, but we need to be on our guard.”

Germany’s Timo Werner, 21, on Sunday netted twice in the 3-1 victory over 10-man Cameroon which saw them finish two points clear of Chile, who rallied for a 1-1 draw with Australia in Moscow.

After Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring in Sochi, Werner struck either side of Vincent Aboubakar’s consolation effort on 78 minutes.

Cameroon had Ernest Mabouka sent off in controversial fashion on 64 minutes for a dangerous tackle on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

Referee Wilmar Roldan initially dismissed Sebastien Siani, before the video assistant referee rectified his error.

Loew, in his 150th match in charge of Germany, maintained his impressive record of reaching the semi-finals of every tournament over the past decade.

Meanwhile, Chile had to come from behind to salvage a point against Australia.

After James Troisi put the Asian champions ahead on 42 minutes at Spartak Stadium, Chile replied through halftime substitute Martin Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up.

Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said his side had not underestimated Australia, who are heading home after their bid to edge the Copa America holders to second place fizzled out.

“That could have been a quarter-final in the World Cup, such was the level of this game,” Pizzi said. “We are happy to reach the semi-finals and reach that aim. Now we must refocus on our next ambition.”

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said he regretted his side’s missed opportunities.

“We wanted to get out of the group and we haven’t, so we are disappointed,” Postecoglou said.

“They [Chile] are a world-class team, a fantastic team, and have played some of the best teams in the world off the park,” he said. “From my perspective, it was a great performance.”

Postecoglou praised veteran forward Tim Cahill as Australia’s captain made his 100th international appearance.

“It’s an unbelievable achievement to have played 100 games as he didn’t play for Australia until he was 24,” Postecoglou said. “Every time he has played at the highest level, at World Cups, he has scored goals. He is a fantastic influence.”