Chile, Germany go to war
By Paul Erewuba
Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, has said that nothing short of the Confederations Cup is good enough for his country.
Yesterday, the Chilean was quoted to have boosted that Chile could prove they are the world’s best team and throw down a marker for next year’s World Cup by beating Germany in today’s Confederations Cup final.
The Copa America champions will take on world champions Germany in St Petersburg with both teams having alreAady drawn 1-1 in the group stages.
Alexis Sanchez’s early strike for Chile was cancelled out by Lars Stindl when the teams met in Kazan 10 days ago.
Indeed, Chile are looking for their third international trophy in three years after winning both the 2015 and 2016 Copa America titles – beating Argentina in the final on penalties on both occasions.
Having knocked Euro 2016 winners Portugal out of the Confederations Cup in last Wednesday’s semifinal, Vidal says beating Germany’s young guns will prove Chile are the best.
“We have proven our value, we have beaten Argentina and Portugal, the European champions.
“If we win today, we will prove we are the best team in the world.
“We have reached this final with our spirit and attitude – this is a waiting room for the World Cup – and if we win today, that will show where we are.
“We still have to qualify for the World Cup, but we have a lot of energy and want to prove ourselves.”
Pundits are of the opinion that Chile showed a great penalty shoot-out pedigree again in Kazan, as goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved all three Portugal spot-kicks after it finished goalless after extra-time.
But while Chile played 120 minutes, Germany will be slightly fresher having beaten Mexico 4-1 in normal time in last Thursday’s semifinal.
Meanwhile, European champions Portugal will have to make do without captain Cristiano Ronaldo as they seek the consolation of a third-place finish in today’s Confederations Cup play-off against Mexico.
The Real Madrid star was excused from the squad following last Wednesday’s penalty shootout defeat to Chile in the semifinals, 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 reportedly said 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.