Germany survived a tough challenge from Chile to earn a 1-0 home victory in an international friendly Wednesday.
It was the road team that had the most chances in the match, winning the possession battle while taking 17 shots and earning 14 corner kicks. While Germany only had seven shots all match, Mario Goetze came through with the only goal in the 16th minute to help secure the victory.
Chile had a very good chance early in the match when Arturo Vidal headed a shot past the keeper. However, Philipp Lahm was in perfect position and was able to block the attempt on the goal line and clear it out.
Germany were then able to get onto the scoresheet in the 16th minute when Mesut Ozil created an opportunity for Goetze, who put it into the top-right corner of the net for the first goal of the match.
Futbol Bible provided a Vine of the score:
Each side had a number of fine opportunities for the rest of the half, but no one was able to score.
The action did not slow down after intermission as Chile had a number of chances to equalise. Eduardo Vargas came the closest with a shot that went off the crossbar in the 61st minute.
Unfortunately, it was more of the same for the South American squad, which simply could not finish plays in the final third. This allowed Germany to hold on for a narrow 1-0 victory.
Both clubs are hoping to use friendlies like this to help prepare for the upcoming World Cup.
Chile could have a tough time advancing through Group B with Spain, Netherlands and Australia all vying for a spot in the knockout stage. Germany's draw is not much easier with Portugal, the United States and Ghana each representing a tough match.
This exhibition not only gives the players a chance to improve while working together, but it also gives the coaches an opportunity to evaluate the team up close. Germany manager Joachim Low recently explained how much his squad must improve, via Goal.com:
On paper we have a top team with top quality and top individuals, but the reality looks a little different. The truth is not so nice because many of our players have been injured for a long time and don't have much rhythm, be it due to a dip in form or niggling injuries, which is why we need to use these next two and a half months to improve and do everything to reach top form.
Although there were obviously some mistakes, the manager should be proud of his team's performance in this early friendly.
Meanwhile, Chile were also impressive with their performance on the road, reminding people that this is a top contender in Brazil, according to Max Bretos of ESPN:
Thore Haugstad of FIFA World Cup magazine also points out that they will be even better in a different climate:
Both sides provided a fantastic effort that should get fans excited for the possibilities for this summer.
Philipp Lahm, Germany: A+
Although he has been a right-back for most of his career, Lahm continues to show off his versatility. The Bayern Munich man has been playing midfield for his club this season, something that he wants to continue for Germany, according to Eurosport:
Against Chile, he proved his ability in this spot as he was all over the pitch. He made solid defensive plays and helped bring the ball up to the scorers on the attack.
Mario Goetze, Germany: A
Goetze scored the opening goal in this match in a play that showcased his finishing ability, as well as his skill to move around in space and find an opening. Ozil made a strong pass to get him the ball, but Goetze made sure it was a score.
There are questions about who should be the central midfielder for Germany, and Ozil's recent struggles with Arsenal mean that the position could be Goetze's to lose. If he continues to play this well for the national team as well as for Bayern Munich, he should remain in this spot going forward.
Arturo Vidal, Chile: A-
It seemed like Vidal had tons of opportunities to score in this match. He was aggressive on the attack and was often the first player up the pitch to get the ball inside the box.
Unfortunately, he struggled to finish when he got a chance around the net. In some instances, bad luck prevented a goal, while other cases saw him simply provide a less-than-stellar shot.
While he had a strong effort in this match, he was unable to record a goal.
Eduardo Vargas, Chile: A-
Like Vidal, Vargas just could not seem to get his shots into the net. He was active throughout the match and was able to get a couple of shots on goal, something that is very encouraging for Chile moving forward.
Vargas, Vidal and Alexis Sanchez represent the squad's best options to score, which means that none of them can afford a bad match. Fortunately, Vargas gave a complete effort and was just a few misguided shots away from leading a winning effort.
|Germany Full Grades|
|D||Marcell Jansen (Off 24')||C+|
|M||Mesut Ozil (Off 89')||A-|
|M||Mario Goetze (Off 83')||A|
|F||Miroslav Klose (Off 45')||C+|
|D||Marcel Schmelzer (On 24')||A-|
|F||Andre Schurrle (On 45')||B|
|M||Lukas Podolski (On 83')||B+|
|M||Matthias Ginter (On 89')||Inc.|
|Roster info courtesy of ESPN FC|
|Chile Full Grades|
|D||Francisco Silva (Off 83')||C+|
|M||Arturo Vidal (Off 90')||A-|
|M||Jean Beausejour (Off 76')||B|
|M||Charles Aranguiz (Off 80')||B-|
|F||Eduardo Vargas (Off 86')||A-|
|M||Jorge Valdivia (On 76')||A-|
|M||Fabian Orellana (On 80')||B|
|M||Marcos Gonzalez (On 83')||B|
|F||Mauricio Pinilla (On 86')||Inc.|
|M||Matias Fernandez (On 90')||Inc.|
|Roster info courtesy of ESPN FC|
Chile will have a few more friendlies before the start of the World Cup with scheduled matches against Egypt in May and Northern Ireland in June.
Germany's next match is in May against Poland, followed by June matches against Cameroon and Armenia.
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