Kick-off: Portugal vs Mexico 1pm
Germany vs Chile 7pm
Duro Ikhazuagbe and Demola Ojo
The final showdown of the Russia 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will take place sunday evening as world Champion Germany take on South American champion Chile in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, before the mouth-watering showdown, the third place play off between Portugal and Mexico will whet fans’ appetite
The final is the second meeting between the two countries in the competition after they first clashed in the group stage. Germany will be looking to win their first Confederations Cup title with Chile also eyeing the title at the first attempt. Both teams played out a 1-1 draw in the group stage of the tournament when Lars Stindl equalised for the Germans after Alexis Sanchez had put the South Americans ahead.
Germany leads the very limited head to head between the two with one win and a draw. Prior to the draw in the group stage, they had met in just one friendly match before, which Germany won 1-0 back in 2014.
Germany romped to a 4-1 win over Mexico in their semifinal clash, taking their tally to ten goals in four games in the tournament so far. They clearly have the firepower with Lars Stindl and Timo Werner as good options and Leon Goretzka raising his stock with a quick brace against the Mexicans as well. They have a very exciting and fluid young attack with manager Joachim Low electing to leave most of the squad that won the 2014 World Cup at home.
Chile on the other had an exhausting semifinal encounter with Portugal, having to win by penalties after a goalless encounter against Portugal.
Chileâ€™s Arturo Vidal, Aranguiz and Arsenal star, Sanchez converted their penalty kicks past Portugalâ€™s goalkeeper Ruis Patricio, while the European champions failed to convert any of theirs.
Portugal will face Mexico in the third place play-off. Again, it is the second time both teams will be playting each other in the competition after the first game ended in a 2-2 draw. However Portugal will have to make do without captain Cristiano Ronaldo as he Real Madrid star was excused from the squad, returning home to meet his newborn twins.
The 32-year-old, who already has a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, from a previous relationship, is believed to have fathered the twins with a surrogate mother in the United States.
“We knew he was having family matters at home,” Portugal manager Fernando Santos told a news conference yesterday.”Obviously it was an important moment in his life to have these children, whom he hasn’t seen yet. And as we failed to reach the final here the president of our football federation and me decided that it will be a nice gesture to give him a chance to be with his family.”
Portugal are often accused of relying heavily on Ronaldo, but they claimed their first major title without their injured talisman when they beat France 1-0 after extra-time in last year’s Euro 2016 final.
Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro is also missing for Portugal through injury, but veteran defender Pepe returns after he was suspended for the Chile clash.
“It will be a game with the same commitment, with the same willingness to win from both sides, I believe,” said Santos. “None of us wanted to play this game as our main goal was to reach the final. But as we failed to get that result we have to be motivated for Sunday’s encounter.
“We have the same objective as we have had in the last two and a half years – to play for the win in every game.”
Mexico are appearing at their seventh Confederations Cup and are hoping to restore their pride after Thursday’s 4-1 semifinal defeat against world champions Germany. Mexico, who won the tournament in 1999, have fallen behind in each of their four matches in Russia but will welcome back captain Andres Guardado, who was banned for the Germany game.
Pay TV channel, StarTimes will beam both matches live subscribers. Acting Brands and Marketing Director, StarTimes, Mr. Qasim Elegbede, said StarTimes is ever commitment to delivering quality sporting content to its loyal subscribers.
He said quality sporting content was the reason behind the acquisitions of sporting rights like the FIFA World Cup in over 48 territories in Africa and other sporting event such as the Serie A, Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, Chinese Super League, Eredivisie.