Joachim Low claimed Germany were “still the best team in the world” after they won the Confederations Cup by beating Chile 1-0 in the final.
Lars Stindl pounced on a defensive error to score the only goal of the game midway through the first half at the Zenit Arena in St Petersburg, although Chile outplayed Low’s side for long periods.
The South American champions created and missed a string of chances and although Stindl’s goal came against the run of play, Germany head coach Low insisted victory was deserved.
“Before the match, (Chile midfielder Arturo) Vidal had said that winning this cup would mean they are the best team in the world,” Low said.
“Well, this cup means that at the moment Germany is still the best team in the world. And with such a young side!”
Low controversially included just three World Cup winners in his squad for the Confederations Cup, but his experimental line-ups excelled throughout the tournament to add another major trophy to their cabinet.
“Jokingly, we could say that now we have to think about which of the players we left at home we can still add to this team next year,” Low said.
“Seriously though, we have created alternatives, by giving young players experience in such games as has happened here.
“Winning here and at the European Under-21 Championship does not guarantee the World Cup next year.
“Germany always belong to the favourites and we will be capable of handling that.”
Borussia Monchengladbach striker Stindl tapped home into an empty net midway through the first half after Chile defender Marcelo Diaz had given the ball away to Timo Werner.
Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, Vidal, Eduardo Vargas and substitute Angelo Sagal all went close, while Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved brilliantly in stoppage time to keep out Arsenal striker Sanchez’s free-kick.
“We played an amazing match and made a huge effort,” said Chile head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi.
“We imposed our game plan for a while, created chances but football is the way it is.
“Sometimes there are mistakes in football. It is normal to be disappointed when you lose a final. But knowing we can compete against the best teams in the world makes us happy. We will try to keep our style of play.”
Pizzi stood by Diaz, whose first-half blunder led to Stindl’s winner and secured Germany their first win in the tournament.
“Marcelo is sad, as are the rest of the team,” Pizzi added.
“But that’s the way he plays and we value the way he plays. We fully support him.
“We were not as strong as we were in the Copa America Centenario, where we created even more chances, but there we scored. Today, we were not able to do so.”