SOCHI, Russia — Just how much Leon Goretzka wanted to seize his opportunity in an experimental Germany squad became clear after only eight minutes against Mexico.
With two goals in the space of 109 seconds on Thursday, Goretzka put the defensively-ragged Mexicans on the back foot and set Germany on its way to the Confederations Cup final with a clinical 4-1 victory.
Germany coach Joachim Loew is using the World Cup warm-up tournament to assess his pool of talent, resting all but three of his world champions from 2014. Silverware was never the priority. But the World Cup will have another trophy for company if Loew’s fledglings can beat Chile on Sunday in St. Petersburg.
Germany drew 1-1 with the South American champions in the group stage, recovering after conceding in the sixth minute – and learning from the lax start.
“Against Chile in particular we were caught off guard; we’d discussed that beforehand and implemented it well today,” said Goretzka, 22. “After getting through the group stage, our objective was to reach the final. We’ve done that convincingly. Now we want to win the title and reward ourselves for our performances so far.”
All three German scorers in the southern Russian resort of Sochi were players making their tournament debuts. After Goretzka netted in the 6th and 8th minutes, Timo Werner and Amin Younes scored in the second half.
“They have developed really well,” Loew said through a translator in the Fisht Stadium. “Over these weeks, we have become a genuine team and that is important. They are very ambitious and yearning to be part of the national team.”
Despite the emphatic score line, Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was kept busy. There were 25 shots on goal but he only conceded in the 89th minute, when he was beaten by Marco Fabian’s long-range swerving shot.
Mexico will now head to Moscow to play Portugal in the third-place match on Sunday after paying the price for affording Germany too much space to cut through its defense.
“We didn’t have a good start of the game, and they took advantage,” Fabian said. “We have to acknowledge that we dared to play as equals.
“Sometimes adrenaline plays a trick on us. Sometimes we make mistakes that they take advantage of. We have to learn to be effective and take advantage of their mistakes.”
It was a misplaced header by captain Hector Moreno that freed Goretzka to launch the attack that he completed to put Germany in front. Goretzka seized…