TAIPEI, Taiwan — Joachim Loew’s young squad now takes on Chile in the final of the Confederations Cup with the future looking bright for German soccer.
Not only have Germany, with 13 tournament newcomers and the youngest squad, impressed in Russia to give Loew food for thought for the World Cup next year, the Under-21 team is in Friday’s final of the European Championships.
“Our success and that of the U-21s is the best advertising for German football,” midfielder Leon Goretzka said.
The Schalke player, who scored the opening two goals in Germany’s 4-1 semifinal win over Mexico in Sochi, is one of the players Loew sees as a candidate for his World Cup squad next year.
Others in the squad would have been with the Under-21s had Loew decided not to have rested first teams players such as Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels, Mesut Oezil, Sami Khedira and others.
Loew said Germany had become “an incredibly good team” at the Confed Cup, and he now has several candidates pressing strong claims to be retained.
“The players are fighting for each other. They are ambitious, they are hungry, they want to play for the national team,” Loew said.
“Everyone had looked forward to this Confed Cup. They are happy in the dressing room but not over the top. They know there is a final to come but the desire to beat Chile is great. No one could have predicted this final.”
Goretzka’s two goals in the sixth and eighth minutes were followed by a Timo Werner strike in the 59th. Mexico’s Marco Fabian beat keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a spectacular long-range shot before Amin Younes immediately responded for Germany in stoppage time.
“It was an incredibly intense game,” Loew said. “We wanted to show, especially from the start, that we wanted to be dominant and not be afraid to get forward.”
Germany drew 1-1 with the Copa America champions in the group phase but it was a match in which both sides appeared happy with the result towards the end.
Loew expects a final — both Germany’s and Chile’s first at a Confed Cup — in St Petersburg on Sunday in which both sides will call up their last reserves of strength.
“Chile are the strongest team in this tournament. We know the Chileans and they know us,” Loew said.
“It will certainly be a battle of attrition. We will have our hands full to defend well.
“It will be game with all the cards on the table. There are probably no big surprises in the team selections, neither for Chile nor for us.”
A disappointed Mexico, who felt they had the ability to win the tournament, now meet European champions Portugal in Moscow on Sunday in the match for third place.
Coach Juan Carlos Osorio felt his team “deserved a better result” but the CONCACAF champions failed to take their chances after being caught cold early in the game.
“They were very efficient and we gave them too much room, but we should have scored at least one or two more goals,” Osorio said.
“We had enough chances to do so. Even after conceding early on we had the mental strength to fight back.”