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Confed Cup

Kimmich first, Vidal second

As expected, Joshua Kimmich and Arturo Vidal have reached the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup in Russia. Kimmich’s Germany team claimed top spot in group B on Sunday thanks to a 3-1 victory over Cameroon, finishing ahead of Arturo Vidal and his Chile side who drew 1-1 with Australia at the same time. Germany will now face Mexico in the semi-finals on Thursday, while Chile are up against European champions Portugal on Wednesday.

Kimmich played the whole 90 minutes as he did in the previous two group games. He also took over the captain’s armband for the closing stages following the substitution of Julian Draxler. Incoming FCB duo Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle were also in the starting eleven again for Joachim Löw’s side, who controlled the game against the African champions in Sotschi.  

After an uneventful first half in which Kimmich had the best chance with a diving header on 24 minutes, Germany raised the tempo in the second period and were soon rewarded. Kerem Demirbay’s well-placed shot gave them the lead just a couple of minutes after the restart before Timo Werner made it 2-0 from a Kimmich cross in the 66th minute.

By this point Cameroon were already down to ten men after Ernest Mabouka was sent off for a foul, with intervention from the video assistant referee. Germany allowed their opponents more freedom now – and surprisingly conceded a goal when goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen fumbled a cross from Vincent Aboubakar in the 78th minute.

But the world champions, who had earlier wasted a few opportunities including one for Kimmich, then made sure of the result as Werner made it 3-1 in the 81st minute after being played in by Benjamin Henrichs. Werner and substitute Amin Younes could’ve even increased the margin before full time.

Meanwhile in Moscow, Vidal had to deal with an energetic opponent. Australia, who still had a chance of progressing themselves, matched the Copa América champions and deservedly led 1-0 at the break through a James Troisi goal in the 42nd minute.

The Socceroos continued to push in the second half but Martin Rodriguez equalised for Chile in the 67th minute, and it stayed 1-1. Vidal, whose eighth-minute volley got the fans off their seats, played the full match again.