Germany secured a Confederations Cup semifinal spot as they beat Cameroon 3-1 in Sochi to win Group B.
Joachim Low’s young team ran out comfortable winners thanks to a goal from Kerem Demirbay and a double from striker Timo Werner.
Cameroon showed promise and scored through Vincent Aboubakar to pull it back to 2-1 after the Germans had taken a two-goal lead, but the African Champions were always up against it, especially when they went down to 10 men after Ernest Mabouka was sent off on 64 minutes.
By winning their game and seeing Chile draw 1-1 with Australia in Moscow, Germany top Group B on 7 points and will now face Group A runners-up Mexico in the semifinal in Sochi on Thursday.
In his 150th game in charge, and aiming for a century of victories, German head coach Low made four changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Chile on Thursday, including bringing in Werner up front as Lars Stindl was rested.
For Cameroon, Georges Mandjeck was due to replace Arnaud Djoum but was injured in the warm-up, meaning Djoum started and boss Hugo Broos fielded the same line-up for the third game in a row in Russia.
Cameroon began brightly and enjoyed the better of the opening stages in front of just over 30,000 fans at Fisht Stadium, but lacked the cutting edge needed to make the breakthrough as they went in search of their first win at the tournament.
Germany came back into it and had several half-chances, including when midfielder Emre Can worked a chance on the edge of the box but fired just wide on 21 minutes.
Germany enjoyed most of the ball, but Cameroon came close just before the break when Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa met a cross at the back-post, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen saving athletically to tip the ball over the bar.
Germany broke the deadlock shortly after the restart when Kerem Demirbay collected a lovely backheel from captain Julian Draxler on the edge of the box and fired home on 48 minutes, for his first goal for the national team.
The World Cup winners did not sit on their lead though and continued to press, with Werner spurning good chances to double the lead while Fabrice Ondoa saved well from Joshua Kimmich.
Cameroon fashioned a good chance on the hour but, Vincent Aboubakar pulled his effort wide.
Cameroon’s troubles worsened on 64 minutes when they went down to 10 men, following a straight red card for Ernest Mabouka after a raised foot in a challenge on German midfielder Emre Can.
Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan called the decision back to the VAR (Video Assistance Referee) before dismissing Mabouka, although he had to check twice after originally dismissing the wrong player.
While Mabouka did catch Can late, both players had raised boots and the decision looked harsh.
Germany wasted little time in capitalizing on their one man advantage and doubled their lead on 66 minutes when Werner headed home from a pinpoint Kimmich cross.
Germany looked set for a comfortable win although Cameroon to their credit stuck to their task despite the numerical disadvantage, and pulled a goal back when Aboubakar headed home on 79 minutes.
Any thoughts of a comeback were quickly snuffed out though, as Werner grabbed his second of the game just two minutes later – becoming the first German ever to score a brace in a Confed Cup match.
Germany were comfortable in the closing stages and could have added to their lead.
Cameroon head out of the tournament finishing bottom of the group and having claimed a solitary point thanks to their opening game draw against Australia, but boss Hugo Broos will reflect on a tournament at which his side showed promise in many aspects, but ultimately lacked the quality and cutting edge to overcome their opponents.
Joachim Low, on the other hand, will have been delighted with what he has seen so far as his young team cruised into the semifinals as group winners.
The Germans will be many people’s favorites for the title, and rightly so.