FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP
Fresh-faced Germany was made to work harder than expected in its 3-2 victory over Australia in their Confederations Cup Group B debut on Tuesday with the world champions’ young squad still adjusting to tournament life.
With half a dozen key players rested this summer ahead of next year’s World Cup title defence in Russia, Germany coach Joachim Loew brought a young team to Russia.
But they still should have had an easier afternoon on the Black Sea were it not for their wasted scoring chances.
The Germans were in control from the start and outsprinted their opponents, with Lars Stindl converting a perfectly timed cutback from Julian Brandt to put them ahead in the fifth minute.
They squandered a bagful of chances in a one-sided first half and were punished when Tommy Rogic scored out of nowhere, his first off-target shot bouncing off a defender’s back and his rebound slipping in under keeper Bernd Leno.
Their joy lasted only three minutes with the Germans earning a penalty in the 44th. Captain Julian Draxler put them back in the driving seat.
Leon Goretzka grabbed another three minutes after the restart but again the Germans dropped the ball with Leno letting a shot slip out of his hands and Tomi Juric tapping in as Germany paid the price of their poor conversion rate.