Germany took the lead through Borussia Monchengaldbach striker, Lars Stidl, who neatly finished after being presented with the ball by Julian Brandt as Germany made their early dominance pay. However, the Socceroos grabbed an undeserved equaliser through Celtic man, Tom Rogic, who struck the ball from outside the box and saw his weak shot squirm under Bernd Leno in the Germany goal. But before half time, Germany re-took the lead when Massimo Luongo, a QPR player (which is hardly surprising when you see the tackle) brought down Leon Goretzka for a penalty and Germans do not miss penalties.
After the break, Germany went further in front through Goretzka who steered a shot past newly-signed Brighton keeper, Matt Ryan. From here it looked like Germany, whose team looked more like an U23 side, would cruise home to take top spot in the group. Bernd Leno, bless him, decided to make it more interesting, which I appreciated, when he fumbled the ball right into the path of Tomi Juric who poked it home. The referee went to the VAR but the goal stood as Juric had deemed not to have handballed it in the build up to his goal. The game fizzled out and Tim Cahill couldn’t save the Australians in his brief cameo in the closing stages of the match.
And so, the first round of matches at the Confed Cup are complete, everyone has played once and almost everyone now has a strong view on video replays. Russia and Chile top their respective groups while New Zealand and Cameroon are bringing up the rear. From what I’ve seen so far, I would say Germany probably have enough to see off the rest of the teams in the tournament but it’s certainly Mexico who are the most enjoyable to watch.
New Zealand get my award for worst performance so far but that’s understandable if you have a Braintree Town player in your ranks (no disrespect to Braintree, I’m sure it’s a fantastic club). Meanwhile, German goalkeeper Bernd Leno has had the worst day at the office so far after he made two blunders against Australia. But it’s the video assistant referees (or VAR) who have had the biggest share of the limelight, showing that it most certainly is still a work in progress. The intention is right but for me; it slows the game down; we sometimes don’t know what it’s for and the assistant referees still get the decision wrong from time to time.
Sorry to break this to you but there are no games in the Confed Cup on Tuesday so you’ll have to entertain yourselves for a bit, ideally by reading this. But if you need football to be entertained, there’s always the U21 European Championships for your delectation.