This is absolutely the best that Chile can offer. This is their golden generation at their peak; two South American titles in the bag and a World Cup to look forward to.
REPORT: Stindl strike downs Chile
This group has been together so long that eight of the squad here comprise eight of the first nine names on the list of the country’s most-capped players. They are so familiar with each other at this stage that they are more or less a club side.
They are in unison and have been whether it’s Jorge Sampaoli or Juan Antonio Pizzi on the sideline. Chile are the best team Latin America can offer the world. They have been dominant in two finals against Argentina and Lionel Messi and have outperformed a Brazil side unable to get their act together until this Conmebol qualification campaign.
And yet a Germany side with a fraction of their experience – 232 caps across the 23 members of their squad before tonight – subdued them. Chile threw everything they had at the young Germans – aggression, their hostility and – in the case of Gonzalo Jara – their elbows. This will go down as a huge test overcome; a crucial battle won as these players seek to build experience for bigger matches down the line.
This isn’t Germany’s best team; it’s probably somewhere between their second and third best with only Joshua Kimmich and Jonas Hector reasonably assured of starting in a full-strength XI. But Joachim Low – who sits on the top of the DFB pyramid – has put the national team in another dimension no matter the personnel.
There is nothing of the old German stereotype in them. There is nothing cold or clinical or anything else like that. This is an expert system which excels both with the ball and without it.
Low has created a hybrid team well ahead of the World Cup and one or two of his regulars might well be watching from their holiday villas wondering if they’re going to get back in the side.
Lars Stindl, who scored the winning goal here, and Timo Werner, who made it, have come into the national team picture and don’t appear to have any intention of letting their places slip.