Germany outclass Socceroos in opening Confederations Cup match

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Australia took on world champions Germany in Group A where both sides produced highs and lows in a pulsating clash.

What Happened

Australia went down to Germany 3-2, just missing out on surprising upset after a second half fight back.

Following a horrid start against Brazil in last week’s friendly the Socceroos were looking to start brightly. Unfortunately they didn’t as German midfielder Lars Stindl fired home from close range after just five minutes, with a beautiful build up down the right-hand side carving up the Australian defence.

The Socceroos continued to find themselves under pressure with inaccurate passes and static movement and were almost made to pay again ten minutes later when Sandro Wagner’s diving header flashed wide of the goal.

Julian Brandt was giving the Aussies all sorts of problems and was almost in again on the 20 minute mark but the flashy winger lost his footing at the final moment, however he managed to recover and lash a shot at goalie Matt Ryan who produced a decent stop to deny the young German.

The Socceroos continued to place themselves in more danger and were thankful the new look German side left their shooting boots behind as moments later Sandro Wagner missed another golden opportunity to double his countries lead, dragging his shot wide when one on one with Matt Ryan.

However five minutes later Australia had their leveller. Tommy Rogic, who had been Australia’s best player by far in a sloppy first half, found himself in acre of space in the 40th minute and charged towards goal. The midfielder had striker Tomi Juric ready and waiting to be played through but the Celtic player drove a dreadful shot right into German defender Shkodran Mustafi. Fortunately for Rogic the bounce was favourable and on the second attempt he powered a vicious volley past Bernd Leno to make it 1-1.

But you can’t keep a class team down for long and Germany struck back immediately from the penalty spot. Massimo Luongo brought down Leon Goretzka after a sublime one-two and captain Julian Draxler calmly slotted to the ball past Matt Ryan to strike a cruel blow to the Aussies just two minutes from halftime.

In the second half the Socceroos came out with fresh purpose but were once again undone early when Goretzka scored in the 47th minute, firing in from close range to stretch the Germans lead out to two goals.

Yet the Aussies didn’t give up hope and in the 55th minute they had their second. Tomi Juric continued his goal scoring form when Leno fumbled a Rogic shot to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

From there on the Aussies pressed for another equaliser and improved immensely. James Troisi replaced Rogic with 20 minutes to go and came close to scoring in the 73rd minute with a long-ranged finesse shot but was denied by an excellent save.

However the Socceroos were unable to find a third goal and were once again let down by a slow start.

Standout Performances

Most players in the German side were a cut above the Aussies throughout the match but it was winger Julian Brandt who shone above the rest. The youngster caused all sorts of problems down the right hand side setting up the first goal whilst could’ve scored himself on several occasions.

For Australia, Tommy Rogic was the best of the rest. Once the attacking midfielder received more of the ball the Socceroos looked a different side and he played a part in both goals.

Talking Points

Germany’s strength in depth. Not one World Cup winner was fielded in Germany’s win and still this so-called second-string side always looked like they had the Socceroos run ragged. Julian Draxler couldn’t be tackled and Leon Goretzka extinguished any creative Australian play with constant pressing.

What it Means

Germany are now joint top of Group A just below Chile on goal difference, while the Socceroos settle into third place above Cameroon whom they will face next in a much win clash.

Needs work

Ange Postecoglou fielded an almost identical line up to the one that faced Brazil and unsurprisingly another world class team found it easy to play around them. It wasn’t helped by the dreadful start made by the Aussies who struggled to string passes together. In the second half they improved greatly, Robbie Kruse was brought on at halftime for the ineffective Massimo Luongo and a formation shift to what looked like a more traditional 3-4-3 saw the Socceroos play with a lot more time and fluidity.

Goal of the Day

Tommy Rogic opened Australia’s scoring with a classy volley just before halftime, which was the standout of the five goals scored. He may have been lucky as the ball came back to him after spraying his initial shot straight into a defender but the Aussie held his composure to power his second past Bernd Leno in the German goal.

Miss of the Day

This award belongs to Trent Sainsbury who was on the end of Australia’s first real chance. A beautiful free kick from Aaron Mooy found its way to the centre back who was unmarked in the box, however the giant defender was unaware of the time and space he had and lashed a header wide.

 

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