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...
SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia -- On a day when they were frustrated, intimidated and pegged back by the red horde in front of them, Germany kept their nerve, hunkered down and punished an opponent's mistake for a 1-0 win that sealed the country's first Confederations Cup trophy.
It's what you'd call a veteran performance, borne out of age-old experience and tactical savvy -- except this German side has an average age of 23 and had hardly played together until 3½ weeks ago.
SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia -- In the 61st minute of the Confederations Cup final, Serbian referee Milorad Mazic was given the opportunity to transform elite-level football and drag it into the 21st century alongside every other major sport, but in front of a global TV audience of millions watching Germany defeat Chile 1-0, he blew it.
With one simple decision, Mazic inflicted huge damage to the credibility of FIFA's video assistant referee (VAR) system and left those watching in a state of bewilderment...
One of football's most fascinating aspects is the quantity of variables involved. A match between the same two teams can take any number of paths.
Just over a year ago, for example, Chile took on Mexico in a warm-up friendly before the Copa America Centenario. The Chileans enjoyed the balance of play and created the bulk of the chances but lost 1-0. The teams then met in the quarterfinal. Once again, the Chileans enjoyed the balance of play and created the bulk of the chances, but this time...
ST PETERSBURG, Russia -- Three quick thoughts from Germany's 1-0 win over Chile in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
1. Germany win Confederations Cup
If Germany retain the World Cup next year, then perhaps this was the night that laid the groundwork. Chile will ask themselves how they lost this Confederations Cup final after they missed a number of chances and let Lars Stindl score the winning goal after a defensive slip. But it was a triumphant night...
On Sunday night, we may be crowning the last-ever Confederations Cup champion. Asked directly about it amid rumors that the competition might be replaced by some kind of global Champions League-lite extravaganza reserved for clubs, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was distinctly noncommittal.
"Right now, the future of the Confederations Cup is the final," he said. "What happens after that is something we will analyze like we do with all our competitions. At this stage, there isn't much to say."