Kimmich versus Vidal in battle for top spot

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A year ago Joshua Kimmich travelled to the European Championships as a squad player; now he’s an integral part of a young German team at the Confederations Cup in Russia. “For me Joshua is one of the best talents I’ve seen in the last ten years,” praised Joachim Löw. Kimmich’s the only player to have played every minute of all 15 of Germany’s matches since his debut at Euro 2016. The 22 year-old possesses “the hunger and desire to be at the top of his game in every training session. That’s something special,” said the German coach. “I’m confident he’ll have a huge career.”

But for now his focus is on helping Germany in their showdown against Chile on Thursday (kick-off 20:00 CEST) as they look to take another towards winning the group. “We can’t afford to make as many mistakes and we need to raise our game. We’ll have to be more clinical in attack,” urged the highly-rated Bayern man ahead of the top-of-the-table clash in group B.

‘Die Mannschaft’ can draw confidence from their opening 3-2 win against Australia but also some pointers for where they must improve. “The game against Chile will be a step up,” stressed Löw. “We need to stay steady over 90 minutes – not just 60.”

Vidal’s pride and hunger

Löw, who could celebrate his 100th win as Germany coach in Kasan on Thursday, praised Chile as “one of the best teams in the world. They have unbelievable power going forward and the players constantly change their positions. The way they play is top-class.”

‘La Roja’ will be spearheaded by someone who Kimmich knows very well: his FC Bayern teammate Arturo Vidal. The midfield warrior led his team to a 2-0 win in their opening game against Cameroon, scoring the first goal to become the highest-scoring midfielder in the history of the Chilean national team (23 goals in 91 appearances).

“I’ve played 91 games in a Chile shirt now. I’m proud to wear the shirt,” said Vidal. “It’s the nicest thing that football has given me in my career.” And of course he wants to lift the trophy in Russia with the current Copa América champions. “Our dream is to win the cup,” he stated. He’ll be giving his all to help Chile record a first win against Germany in nearly 50 years.

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