Germany 4-1 Mexico: Match report
Germany set up an exciting final of the Confederations Cup with Chile on Sunday after taking advantage of some early errors by their opponents to give themselves a two-goal cushion they would never relinquish.
Mexico got off to a horrible start as they looked shaky at the back from the get-go. They were coughing up the ball too close to their penalty area for comfort and Moreno and Araujo never looked comfortable holding a coherent defensive line, which is a disaster with the speed of Timo Werner to contend with.
They were caught out after six minutes when they gave the ball away in midfield and Germany executed a razor sharp counter-attack that saw Leon Goretzka finish a move he started when he hit a ball from the right on the run to beat Ocha.
Just two minutes later and he was in behind Mexico's back line again to finish in the same corner of Ochoa's net. Two goals in two minutes and Mexico had a monumental task to attack and score against a team who were proving adept on the counter.
Mexico were enjoying 56% possession midway through the half and were hogging the ball for long spells, but the extent of their chances were crosses from the right from Layun that were out of reach of his Mexican teammates. All the while, Germany continued to look sharp on the break.
Mexico did continue to hold the ball well and came close as the first half grew older. chicharito had the best chance of the opening half for the Mexicans as he took a pass from Gio Dos Santos and found himself one-on-one with Ter Stegen. The ball bounced awkwardly and he had to poke a shot over the oncoming keeper to try and beat him but as it flew over the German, it also flew over his crossbar.
Germany returned for the second half with far more intent to attack, not because they needed goals but because they needed to take the onus away from Mexico. They looked far more dangerous and far more in control of what was happening.
Timo Werner was threatening and might have had a penalty when he broke free and was pushed in the back only for the ref to play advantage as he shot off-balance and missed.
He had his goal before long though, when Hector put the ball on a plate to him as he eased the ball over the line. Germany were up 3-0 and there was no looking back.
Mexico scored the goal of the game when they took a quick free from miles out and Fabian struck it. Ter Stegen was left grasping at fresh air and Mexico thought they might have a chance. But there was only one minute left in normal time and Germany weren't finished yet either.
The Germans restored their three goal lead when Brandt played the ball to Can, who fed Younes and the young Ajax attacker stroked home to finish the scoring on the night.
Joachim Loew's charges will face Chile in the final in St. Petersburg on Sunday after a convincing victory over a Mexican side, who will rue their early mishaps.
Germany vs Mexico live stream online: Confederations Cup latest news
Germany vs Mexico live stream: match preview
The Confederations Cup's second last-four tie sees a clash between the world champions and the CONCACAF Cup holders as Germany come up against Mexico.
A match-up with Chile in Saint Petersburg on Sunday awaits the winners after La Roja overcame Portugal on penalties in Wednesday's opening semi in Kazan.
Joachim Löw's youthful Germany topped Group B with wins over Australia and Cameroon (3-2 and 3-1) and a 1-1 draw with Chile, but haven't been wholly convincing in Russia so far.
They have looked particularly wobbly at the back, where keeper Bernd Leno had a nightmare against the Aussies, Shkodran Mustafi's shocker gifted Chile their goal and Marc-André ter Stegen - now installed between the sticks in place of Leno - won't want to watch Cameroon's consolation again in a hurry.
However, they head into their encounter with Mexico on a run of 13 games unbeaten and are the Confederations Cup's joint-top scorers alongside Portugal, while Lars Stindl and Timo Werner lead the individual goal charts with the Seleçao's Cristiano Ronaldo.
"We are happy to be in the semis and to face such a strong opponent like Mexico," Löw told his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, adding that he anticipates an "aggressive" approach from El Tri.
"It is how they have been playing for years. They hunt the ball with all their players and when they have it, they play it deep quickly."
Mexico, the only previous tournament victors at the 2017 Confed Cup (having won it as hosts in 1999), broke Russian hearts on Saturday, coming from behind to claim a 2-1 victory and take second place in Group A ahead of the home nation.
That followed an entertaining opening-game draw with Portugal and a win over New Zealand, in both of which they likewise showcased their ability to recover from a losing position.
The Mexicans have won just one of their ten meetings with Germany - which include a 4-3 defeat in a thriller at the 2005 Confederations Cup - and a wary Juan Carlos Osorio denied on Wednesday that the youth of Löw's group - the squad's average age is just over 24 - could play into his team's hands.
"You can be young and have a lot of experience," the Mexico boss said. "A 30-year-old person that starts studying cardiology will know a lot less than a 21-year-old graduate."
Mexico are on a fine sequence of results too, having lost just one of their last 16, but will have to do without the 136 times-capped midfielder Andrés Guardado, who is suspended due to accumulated bookings.
Meanwhile, the injured Diego Reyes is also set to miss out in Sochi, with Carlos Salcedo already out of the tournament because of a shoulder injury suffered against NZ.
Germany vs Mexico live stream: possible line-ups
Germany XI: Ter Stegen, Kimmich, Ginter, Mustafi, Hector, Goretzka, Rudi, Emre Can, Süle, Draxler, Werner
Coach: Joachim Löw
Mexico XI: Ochoa, Layún, Araujo, Moreno, Alanís, Herrera, Aquino, Jonathan, Fabián, Vela, R Jiménez
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio
Germany vs Mexico live stream online: Confederations Cup betting
Germany are the bookies' favourites to reach the final, with the World Cup holders priced at €2.05 per euro bet to set up a clash with Chile. Mexico, meanwhile, are valued at €3.80 for every euro placed.