West Ham’s interest in the Confederations Cup ended in midweek as Portugal were knocked out on Penalties by Chile. The reigning European champions were held 0-0 after extra time but beaten 3-0 on penalties. Chile now progress to the final where they will meet Germany who handed Mexico a 4-1 thrashing in the other semi.
Hammers’ January signing Fonte was recalled to the starting line up for the semi-final after not featuring for Portugal since the first group game. He wasn’t part of the comfortable 4-0 win over New Zealand in midweek which meant that the Portuguese topped group A. They pipped Mexico on goal difference as they could only beat Russia 2-1 to set up the tie with Chile, while Mexico faced group B winners Germany.
Both sides had opportunities to score inside the first ten minutes in Kazan, first Vargas’ shot was smothered before Andre Silva shot straight at Bravo in the Chile goal. Neither keeper was troubled for the remainder of the first half and Fonte held a strong line with his defence. The second half passed by with few chances and even fewer points of interest for the neutral. Chile perhaps could have had a penalty in the second half of extra time and then hit the woodwork twice in quick succession with two minutes remaining. On balance they were arguably deserved winners but were made to go through a penalty shootout to do so. That’s when Manchester City’s under fire goal keeper Claudio Bravo came to the party. Having had little to do for much of the game he guessed right on the first three Portugal spot kicks, saving each. Cristiano Ronaldo had elected to take the fifth penalty, as he has for Madrid in the past, but this time he was left as an onlooker as Nani’s weak effort was comfortably saved to Bravo’s left. Portugal must now play the third placed playoff against Mexico on Sunday afternoon before the show piece final that evening.
Germany will be a tough opponent in the final, despite it being an inexperienced side. They comfortably brushed aside Mexico 4-1. Germany, including Liverpool’s Emre Can scored twice in the fist ten minutes to set the tone for the game. The score was 3-0 before the hour mark as Timo Werner tapped into an empty net. It was Can’s foul which led to Mexico’s consolation which was by far the goal of the day. With less than a minute remaining of normal time there was little chance of a comeback, something which was confirmed when Germany added their fourth in added time.
Germany and Chile met in the group stage earlier in the competition and drew 1-1. The Germans will likely have a tougher task overcoming Chile as the did Mexico. Both sides now that they are in the final will undoubtedly want to end with a win and lift the trophy.