Reigning World Cup champions Germany beat Australia 3-2 on Monday in an end-to-end encounter at the 2017 Confederations Cup.
The Group B clash in Sochi, Russia had a fast start as Lars Stindl gave a rampant German outfit the lead but a flurry of incidents at the end of the first half first saw Tommy Rogic equalize but then Julian Draxler made it 2-1 to Germany at the break.
Leon Goretzka made it 3-1 early in the second half but to their credit Australia hung in there and pulled a controversial goal back via Tomi Juric as the Video Assistant Referees (VARs) were used.
However, despite late pressure a young Germany side held on to seal victory and they now face Chile in Kazan on Thursday, while Australia meet Cameroon in Saint Petersburg.
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Germany took the lead early on as Julian Brandt surged down the right and cut the ball back for Stindl to slot home calmly. 1-0 to Germany with just five minutes on the clock.
It should have been 2-0 soon after as Goretzka’s wonderful cross found Sandro Wagner, but the Hoffenheim forward sent a diving header inches wide of the post when he should’ve done better. Brandt then got free down the right and after slipping he recovered to strike a powerful effort towards the top corner which Mat Ryan pushed wide.
Wagner then raced clear but dragged his effort wide of the far post when one-on-one with Ryan. Another opportunity missed for Germany as Australia’s defense was all over the place and Brandt then had a long-range effort pushed away by Ryan.
Australia almost leveled things up as Trent Sainsbury got free from a free kick but headed wide under no pressure at all. A huge chance wasted by the Socceroos.
Germany then missed a big chance of there own as a cross was somehow was cleared off the line, and then Australia leveled things up with Rogic drilling home at the second attempt to make it 1-1 against the run of play. Game on. Well, for a few moments anyway…
Massimo Luongo took down Goretzka three minutes after the Socceroos had drawn level to concede a penalty kick and Draxler slotted home to make it 2-1 at half time.
In the second half it took just three minutes for Germany to make it 3-1 as Goretzka once again raced free and this time he finished calmly at the near post to make it 3-1.
Just when it seemed like Germany would run away with things, Australia were back in the game and made it 3-2. A shot was spilled by Bernd Leno and Juric finished off the loose ball. The Video Assistant Referees checked the goal for offside and the goal stood despite a questionable handball in the build-up.
Australia began to dictate the tempo of the game after reducing the deficit and substitute James Troisi curled an effort towards goal but couldn’t get enough power on his shot as Leno saved.
At the other end another substitute, Timo Werner, went close as he wriggled free but the RB Leipzig man hit the post.
Juric then teed up another sub, Robbie Kruse, but his effort was saved well down low by Leno as Australia pushed hard late on for an equalizer but couldn’t find one with even Tim Cahill jumping off the bench.