Germany and Chile dominate Confederations Cup Best XI
The 2017 Confederations Cup is over and Germany are the champions. But who were the standout performers in the tournament? Here is our best XI.
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo (Chile)
It was no fault of Bravo's that he ended up on the losing side in the final -- indeed, he made a couple of useful saves to keep Chile in the game as Germany stretched them on the break -- but his major contribution in the tournament came four days previous. Three penalty saves in the semifinal shootout against Portugal took Chile through, but they were also a timely reminder of his quality after a troubling season at Manchester City. Whether his performances in Russia are enough to help him push on and retain the No. 1 spot at the Etihad next season, though, remains to be seen.
Right-back: Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
You sense that Kimmich would be able to do a good job anywhere on the pitch; he is wonderfully versatile, athletic and canny. Perhaps that counts against him but in Russia -- where he played at right-back, right wing-back and centre-back -- he proved equally adept at all three. It was in the second of those roles that he shone in the final, even engaging in a spat with Bayern Munich teammate Arturo Vidal as the game's temperature rose after the break. He will hope that he can nail down a regular starting place alongside the Chilean next term -- whichever position it might be.
Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger (Germany)
If Rudiger is, as some reports suggest, Chelsea-bound then the London club have a star on their hands. The Roma centre-back started four of a heavily rotated Germany side's five games and stood out with his composure and athleticism -- both of which were evident in the marvelously-timed challenge that denied Chile's Charles Aranguiz a near-certain opener in the final. Rudiger is mobile, imposing and uses the ball well -- and, at the age of 24, he is only going to get better.
Centre-back: Gary Medel (Chile)
Chile are a team of warriors and they do not come tougher than Medel, who should not really be a viable international centre-back at 5-foot-8 but manages to make it work through sheer competitiveness. He captained the runners-up twice in place of Bravo, who missed the first two games, and was superb in keeping the door bolted shot against an in-form Portugal in the semifinal. Medel may leave Inter Milan this summer but has plenty to offer a team at the highest level.
Left-back: Jean Beausejour (Chile)
Like Medel, Beausejour had a patchy spell in the Premier League and, now based back home with Universidad de Chile, he does not immediately look like a left-back for the highest level. The fact he manages to be one is testament to both his footballing ability and adaptability, as well as to Chile's formidable ability to squeeze the best out of every one of their players. Still a busy presence marauding forward, even at 33, his longevity speaks volumes for what Chile continue to achieve and he put in an impressive set of displays this summer.
Central midfield: Leon Goretzka (Germany)
This felt like Goretzka's coming of age tournament and the 22-year-old Schalke midfielder looks like becoming a sought-after talent in the coming months. A series of mature, astute performances peaked with his crucial early semifinal double against Mexico and he had already scored an important group stage goal against Australia. Goretzka is dynamic, strong and can pick a pass; his fortunes in the final mirrored Germany's, with early jitters turning into a composed display that gave player and team the trophy they deserved.
Central midfield: Jonathan dos Santos (Mexico)
He has often existed in the shadow of his younger brother, Giovani, but Dos Santos was excellent for Mexico throughout this tournament. The Villarreal midfielder was a smooth, high-octane presence in a technically accomplished side that tended to control possession and missed out on third place by a whisker. At 27 he is at his peak and perhaps beginning to fully realise the potential that led to him being such a vaunted talent during his early years at Barcelona.
Central midfield: Arturo Vidal (Chile)
Chile might have fallen short in the final but that was not for lack of trying by Vidal, whose levels of energy and aggression remain phenomenal. He drives his team forward and those around him respond; he had done exactly the same in their semifinal against Portugal, and at times seemed on a single-handed mission to pepper the Germany goal with shots from all angles. Now 30, Vidal plays each game as if it might be his last; if that intensity continues at the World Cup then Chile will have a good chance of going far.
Right forward: Lars Stindl (Germany)
The Germany side is full of impressive young players but Stindl, of Borussia Monchengladbach, does not quite fall into this category. He turns 29 next month and was given this chance after an outstanding couple of seasons for his club. He needed to take it if he was to have any possibility of establishing himself at international level and was excellent in Russia, quite aside from the simple finish that decided the final. Stindl also scored against the Chileans in the group stage, as well as Australia. He does not necessarily look flashy but is a hugely efficient, effective player and would fit in well to Joachim Low's squad next year.
Left forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Ronaldo was cheered to the rafters almost every time he touched the ball in Russia. Thousands of local fans were unashamedly there simply to see him -- which is why Portugal's relatively unattractive game with New Zealand attracted a higher attendance than Russia's opener, for example -- and although he was not at the very top of his game he provided enough moments to savour. His winner against Russia gave the hosts a huge problem and a smart assist for Ricardo Quaresma, coupled with a penalty of his own, helped see off New Zealand. He was quieter against Chile and missed the third-place match altogether to meet his new baby twins.
Centre-forward: Timo Werner (Germany)
It is easy to see why opposition fans do not always take kindly to Werner. He niggles, he pesters and he has a habit of going down too easily. But at 21 he already looks as if he could be Germany's striker for the next decade; his Golden Boot award (won despite teammates Goretzka and Stindl matching his three-goal tally, as he also provided two assists) was well-earned. He is a clinical, varied finisher and a sharp exploiter of mistakes -- as he showed when seizing on Marcelo Diaz's error to set up the winner in the final -- and surely has a glittering international future ahead of him.
Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC on a range of topics. Twitter: @NickAmes82.