An early brace put Germany in the driver’s seat as they beat Mexico 4-1 to book their spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup final.
The Germans opened the scoring early, with Leon Gortetzka making it 1-0 just six minutes into the game. Benjamin Henrichs squared the ball to Goretzka at the top of the box and he sent it past Guillermo Ochoa to give Germany the lead.
Goretzka added a second less than two minutes later as he ran on to a through ball from Timo Werner and beat Ochoa with a shot to the far post, giving Germany the 2-0 lead in the 8th minute.
The Confederations Cup semifinals begin this Wednesday with Portugal vs Chile before Mexico takes on Germany on Thursday.
Mexico finished second in Group A with a 2-1-0 record (2-1 victories against Russia and New Zealand and a 2-2 draw with Portugal) while Germany won Group B with the same 2-1-0 record (a 3-2 win against Australia, a 3-1 win against Cameroon, and a 1-1 draw with Chile).
Mexico will look to take advantage of a German defense that has been somewhat shaky in this tournament (conceding to a 10-man Cameroon side), while El Tri’s own defense may have some trouble with Germany’s prolific attack. Mexico conceded first in all three of their group stage games and had to fight back each time.
Mexico once again had to come from behind, but they ultimately beat Russia 2-1 in their last group stage game. The victory gives El Tri a spot in the Confederations Cup semifinals while eliminating the hosts.
Mexico controlled possession in the opening stanza, but Russia looked dangerous when they did have the ball. The hosts had two penalty shouts, one which went to VAR, and then, in the 25th minute, they took the lead. Alexandr Erokhin whiffed on his attempted shot but was able to keep control of the ball and send it over to Aleksandr Samedov, who made it 1-0.
Mexico will wrap up their participation in the group stage of the 2017 Confederations Cup this Saturday when they take on the hosts, Russia.
Mexico and Russia are both in the running to advance to the knockout rounds; this game is winner-takes-all, although El Tri would also advance with a draw. In the unlikely scenario that Portugal loses to New Zealand, then Mexico could advance even with a loss.
Russia is looking to avoid becoming the first host to fail to qualify for the knockout rounds since South Korea in 2001, while Mexico would be quite happy to play spoiler to their hosts.
Carlos Salcedo will miss the rest of the Confederations Cup – and the start of the season with his new club Eintracht Frankfurt – after suffering a shoulder injury in Wednesday’s game against New Zealand.
The defender fell awkwardly on his shoulder and was stretchered off the field in the 33rd minute of that game. The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) confirmed that Salcedo suffered ligament damage in his acromioclavicular joint.
It was not nearly as easy or as straightforward as Mexico was expecting, but in the end El Tri rallied for a 2-1 victory over New Zealand.
There were surprises both on and off the field, with the All Whites taking a shock lead and Mexico fans in the stands largely refraining from the infamous “eh p*to” chant after FIFA’s latest warning, drawing praise from the national team’s official Twitter account.
APPLAUSE for the fans who DIDN’T shout at the @NZ_Football goalkeeper. True #Incondicionales!
There was no praise, however, for the play on the field. Juan Carlos Osorio made no fewer than eight changes to the starting XI that drew 2-2 with Portugal on Sunday, and Mexico looked rather disjointed in the opening half. New Zealand had several chances to take the lead, beginning with a dangerous header in the 20th minute that Alfredo Talavera snagged right on the line.
After previously announcing a new three-step anti-discrimination system to debut at the 2017 Confederations Cup, FIFA has continued its increased scrutiny of fan behavior with a warning for Mexico.
The Mexican Football Federation (FMF), which has to date amassed eight fines in World Cup qualifying for homophobic chants by supporters, has now received an official warning from FIFA for fan behavior in their opening Confederations Cup game against Portugal.
During that game, which ended in a 2-2 draw, Mexican fans continued to shout the homophobic slur “p*to” on opposition goal kicks.
The second round of Group A games will be played this Wednesday, with Mexico facing New Zealand and the hosts Russia taking on Portugal.
New Zealand is by far the weakest team in the group and Mexico will expect a straightforward victory here. After drawing with Portugal in their opening game, a win would put El Tri in a very good position before their final game against Russia.
In their 2017 Confederations Cup debut, Mexico scored a stoppage-time goal to tie Portugal 2-2. El Tri twice came from behind to tie the game, leaving Mexico and Portugal to share the spoils in this Group A match.
After a few minutes of feeling each other out, both teams went on the attack. It was Portugal who had the ball in the back of the net first, but that would-be goal was disallowed thanks to the new video assistance referee technology.
In the 19th minute, Portugal won a free kick, which Cristiano Ronaldo sent into the wall. He collected the rebound and hit the bar; that rebound was sent back into the box yet again and nodded in by Pepe; however, VAR ruled Pepe was offside from the initial ball in.