Confederations Cup: Germany too good for Socceroos in Russia, winning 3-2

Sochi: Fresh-faced Germany were made to work harder than expected in their 3-2 victory over Australia in their Confederations Cup group B debut on Monday, with the world champions' young squad still adjusting to tournament life.

With half a dozen key players rested this summer ahead of next year's World Cup title defence in Russia, Germany coach Joachim Loew brought a young team to Russia.

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Socceroos push Germany close in Confederations Cup

Despite conceding an early goal, the Socceroos came back before falling behind to lose 3-2 to the reigning World Cup champions.

But they still should have had an easier afternoon on the Black Sea were it not for their wasted scoring chances.

The Germans were in control from the start and outsprinted their opponents, with Lars Stindl converting a perfectly timed cutback from Julian Brandt to put them ahead in the fifth minute.

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Mathew Leckie clears the ball while under pressure from Niklas Suele of Germany.

Mathew Leckie clears the ball while under pressure from Niklas Suele of Germany. Photo: Getty Images

They squandered a bagful of chances in a one-sided first half and were punished when Tommy Rogic scored out of nowhere, his first off-target shot bouncing off a defender's back and his rebound slipping in under keeper Bernd Leno.

Their joy lasted only three minutes with the Germans earning a penalty in the 44th. Captain Julian Draxler put them back in the driving seat.

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Leon Goretzka grabbed another three minutes after the restart but again the Germans dropped the ball with Leno letting a shot slip out of his hands and Tomi Juric tapping in as Germany paid the price of their poor conversion rate.

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Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is looking for the reasons behind his side's sluggish and costly start.

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Germany's Julian Brandt, right, and Australia's Bailey Wright go for a header during the Confederations Cup.

Germany's Julian Brandt, right, and Australia's Bailey Wright go for a header during the Confederations Cup. Photo: AP

It wasn't as swift as the 12-second goal conceded to Brazil at the MCG last week, but the fifth-minute opener by Germany was just as excruciating to watch.

For the opening half hour, Australia was completely at sea against the Germans and by Postecoglou's own admission, the Socceroos could have been three or four down at half-time.

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Trent Sainsbury and Mark Milligan embrace after their loss to Germany.

Trent Sainsbury and Mark Milligan embrace after their loss to Germany. Photo: Getty Images

"In the first half we just couldn't get hold of it," Postecoglou said.

"We'll analyse it and see whether it was something structural or nerves or composure.

"The only way you can [improve] is to keep exposing them to this level.

"Eventually they grow as footballers. You can't prepare them for what they're going to face out there. The only way to do that is by playing at this level against the very best and hopefully that composure comes."

A personnel change at the break seemed to help.

Massimo Luongo, who gave away a penalty on a night to forget, was substituted for Robbie Kruse, allowing Aaron Mooy to sit deeper and have more time on the ball.

Postecoglou said he also encouraged his team to remember their pre-game confidence.

"As much as you try and set up the team to be brave in terms of where we want to defend, it's human nature that we fell back a little bit and probably gave them a little bit too much room and respect," he said.

"In the second half we said 'let's stick to our principles. Let's defend a little higher up the park as we planned to do and get our wide players right up into their back four.

"It seemed to work better."

Of course, another reason for Australia's slow start was that Germany were simply very good.

Joachim Low's next-gen side were fantastic going forward; a fact both coaches and half-time substitute Robbie Kruse acknowledged after the match.

"They were very good in the first half. They're a great team … abundant in Bundesliga stars and European stars," Kruse said.

"We don't know why the second half we were so good compared with the first half.

"We're in a competition out here and the next game if we don't get three points it's all over."

Reuters, AAP

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