The Confederations Cup came to its climax last Sunday as both the third place play-off and the Final were played. All four sides involved were littered with current and former Premier League players. The final turned out to be a close game between Chile and Germany with the reigning World Champions emerging victorious. They will be hoping it proves to have been a good preparation exercise ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Russia. Much talk has been of the talent omitted from the German squad, but the players who were representing them all performed well and they were deserving winners. Arsenal’s Mustafi and Liverpool’s Can will be hoping they have done enough to secure a place in the squad for next summer when the regular players are reinstated. Both players appeared in the final, Mustafi from the start, helping Germany to a clean sheet. The German defence was under pressure for much of the opening exchanges before a mix up in the Chilean defence allowed Stindl to take full advantage and score a tap-in past Manchester City ‘keeper Claudio Bravo. Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez had a number of chances to level the game but in truth, the German defence looked solid throughout as they went on to lift the trophy.
West Ham’s Jose Fonte was not involved as Portugal secured third place in the competition. Fonte was left on the bench to watch as Portugal came from behind to beat Mexico after extra time. They could have taken the lead in the first half but for a superb penalty save from Mexican ‘keeper Ochoa. It was then Fonte’s replacement Neto who turned into his own net from close range to give Mexico the lead with 55 minutes played. It was an unfortunate goal to concede and the defender had little knowledge as the ball struck him before beating his goalkeeper. It was a tight game after that until a hopeful ball into the Mexico box from one time Chelsea player Ricardo Quaresma in injury time was karate kicked home by Pepe’s outstretched leg. It was then onto extra time and another penalty which would decide the game. This one appeared to be soft but it was dispatched with ease just after half time. That’s how the game would finish except for both sides losing a man to second yellow cards.
Fonte started two games for Portugal during the tournament, both ended in a draw. He helped his side keep a clean sheet during the 0-0 draw with Chile in the Semi Final, but conceded twice against Mexico in the group. Although it is regarded as a friendly competition his average form throughout will not full Hammers fans with confidence heading into the new season.