Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers both started and played the full 90 minutes in narrow victories for their respective countries.
Confederations Cup: Australia 2-3 Germany
Goals from Lars Stindl, Julian Draxler (penalty) and Leon Goretzka helped Germany to a hard-fought 3-2 win over Australia during their first Confederations Cup fixture on Monday evening.
Mustafi started and completed the full 90 minutes alongside Roma’s Antonio Rudiger in central defence, though would’ve been disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet against the Socceroos.
Alarm bells should’ve been ringing when centre-back Trent Sainsbury was allowed too much space to run in-behind the German backline from an in-swinging delivery. Mustafi was the player closest but his team-mates seemed out of sync and the 25-year-old was rightly confused by their lack of organisation at the set-piece.
Less than five minutes later, Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic levelled the scoring with a low driven finish which deceived goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Again, Germany’s backline were far too open and Mustafi was caught in two minds whether to close down the strike or try and jockey.
He did the latter, Rogic let fly and his initial effort was blocked back into his path, allowing him enough time to strike goalwards again before Mustafi could react.
Draxler’s penalty just two minutes before stoppage time, coupled with Goretzka’s smart finish from close-range shortly after the break meant Germany had a comfortable two-goal advantage.
Or so they thought.
More poor defending saw the Germans slack out of possession in their defensive third, which was punished by a combination of fortune and disappointing goalkeeping from Leno himself – fumbling Rogic’s shot from range straight into the path of striker Tomi Juric to halve the deficit.
Australia came close to a surprise equaliser but Mustafi’s presence was important as he made a few vital interceptions to deny them many more opportunities on-goal as the pressure continued.
An enthralling finish to an unpredictable game, one that will give Germany motivation to improve in their next fixture.
They’ll play Alexis Sánchez’s Chile on Thursday evening.