Germany and Chile are favorites to book Confederations Cup semifinal places when they play Cameroon and Australia respectively in the final round of Group B matches on Sunday.
Joachim Low’s world cup winners and Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Copa American champions lead the group on four points each, while Cameroon and Australia are both on a point apiece.
While all four teams can still reach the knockout stages, the Germans and Chileans are the strong favorites, knowing that they only need to avoid defeat against their lower-ranked opponents to guarantee progress in Russia.
Germany face African champions Cameroon at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium, with Low’s young team going into the game on the back of a 3-2 opening game win against the Aussies and a 1-1 draw against Chile.
Cameroon lost their opener 2-0 against Chile and drew 1-1 with Australia on Thursday – and the Indomitable Lions need to win by a two-goal margin against Germany to go through to the knockout stages.
While Cameroon boos Hugo Broos knows that’s not impossible, it’s a big ask against a German team that have looked good in Russia so far. Die Mannschaft striker Lars Stindl is the tournament top scorer on two goals, and youngsters such as midfielder Leon Goretzka have shone. Cameroon have shown glimpses of what they can do, and Broos felt they deserved more against Australia, but they will be up against it Sochi.
Broos is likely to stick with the same line-up that started the first two games, while Low could make changes and introduce players who have had limited game time in Russia so far such as striker Timo Werner.
Germany have won two of the three previous meetings between the two sides, although the last game – in June 2014 – ended in a 2-2 draw.
Group B opponents Chile face Australia in Moscow’s Spartak Stadium, also at 6pm (local time) on Sunday, and like Germany know that a draw will be good enough to clinch a semifinal spot, having beaten Cameroon and drawn with Germany in their two games so far.
Chile can even afford to lose by one goal and still progress, while the Socceroos need to win by a two-goal margin to go through.
Chile are strong favorites and Pizzi is likely to stick with most of the starting 11 that began against Germany – including midfield general Arturo Vidal and top scorer Alexis Sanchez.
Aussie boss Ange Postecoglou has won praise for showcasing his team’s expansive, attacking style in Russia. He’s likely to opt for the same side that started against Cameroon, including impressive youngster Alex Gersbach.
The last meeting between the two sides was at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, when La Roja ran out 3-1 winners. A repeat of that result today in the Russian capital would not be a surprise.