World champions Germany took on African Nations Cup winners Cameroon on Sunday, in the last Confederations Cup group match for both teams.
Neither team knew for sure whether they would be advancing to the semifinals, or going home.Nonetheless, the two sides’ situations could have hardly been more different. While the Germans only needed a draw, or even a narrow defeat to advance, Cameroon needed a multi-goal victory to reach the final four.
The German national team had a few half chances on goal in the first 45-minute period, but their opponents had the best opportunity of the half, when André-Frank Zambo forced keeper Marc-André ter Stegen into an acrobatic save to keep the score sheet blank at halftime.
The world champions came out of the locker room with a determination that simply had not been there before.
Kerem Demirbay’s long-distance shot resulted in the TSG Hoffenheim-man’s first goal for his adopted country and the lead for Germany in the match.
After more than an hour played, the referee sent off Cameroon’s Ernest Mabouka for a strong foul on Emre Can. He needed video assistance twice, before coming to that decision. That shows that the Video Assistant Referee system, VAR is doing its job, despite harsh criticism from traditionalists.
Coach Joachim Löw’s team took full advantage of being up a man. Timo Werner’s low header doubled their lead almost immediately after the red card.
Later, Vincent Aboubakar scored for Cameroon thanks to a mistake in goal by ter Stegen. 2-1!
But there was no time for the game to regain its excitement, as Werner scored again for the 3-1 final result.
The goal puts Werner even at the top of the tournament scoring charts, together with teammate Lars Stindl and some Portuguese guy named Ronaldo:) .
The victory, along with Chile’s 1-1 draw with Australia means that Germany finishes on top of the group and will face Mexico in the semifinal, while Chile will take on Portugal.
As a side note, this was Joachim Löw’s 100th victory in his 150th match in charge of Germany.