Germany’s forward Timo Werner (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup group B football match between Germany and Cameroon at the Fisht Stadium Stadium in Sochi on June 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ
Ambitious Timo Werner is eyeing Confederations Cup glory with Germany and hopes his two goals against Cameroon are enough to see him start Thursday’s semi-final with Mexico.
The 21-year-old sealed the world champions’ 3-1 win in Sochi with a second-half brace by heading home Joshua Kimmich’s cross, then drilled in a second to calm German nerves just after Vincent Aboubakar netted Cameroon’s consolation goal.
The win over Cameroon means Germany stay in Sochi to play Mexico for a place in Sunday’s final in Saint Petersburg with Chile and Portugal to meet the day before in Kazan’s other semi-final.
“Mexico will be tough to play, but we have also been good so far and I think we have a chance to go beyond the semi-finals,” said RB Leipzig’s Werner.
“We’re in the semis, so the next aim is to reach the final.
“To say we want to win the final would be over ambitious, but it wouldn’t be enough just to play in the third-place match.”
The fleet-footed striker has a sharp eye for goal and justified Joachim Loew’s faith with a man-of-the-match performance, which could be rewarded with another start against Mexico.
“Timo Werner really put in a lot of leg work,” said Germany’s head coach.
“At the start, our attacks somehow didn’t come to much, on so he wasn’t able to really shoot on target.
“It was a different story after the break, he was much more present in the box, that’s where he’s dangerous, he has a killer instinct.
“Both goals were nicely taken and he really earned them.”
Werner is one of only three players have now so far scored twice at this Confed Cup.
He is in the company of global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and team-mate Lars Stindl, whose place Werner took in Germany’s starting line-up against Cameroon.
The inexperienced Germans made a nervous, hesitant start in Sochi and after a frustrating first-half of missed half chances and scuffed shots, Werner’s game clicked.
– First-half frustration –
“I needed some time before scoring, I was a bit annoyed because leading up to (the goals), I had a couple of situation which weren’t ideal,” said Werner.
“I got a couple of good passes, so I have to thank those guys who provided those.
“The man-of-the-match award is a great distinction for me, I am happy we won in Sochi and can have an extra day to prepare for the semi-final.
“Of course, the fact we can stay here helps, it’s nice to be by the sea.”
Werner headed his first goal to put Germany 2-0 just after Cameroon’s Ernest Mabouka was sent off for a dangerous tackle.
The German said he profited from confusion in Cameroon’s defence, which was generated when the ref initially dismissed Sebastien Siani before the video assistant referee corrected the decision.
“I believe the red card contributed to the fact we were able to win with that score,” said Werner.
“I didn’t see whether or not it (the red card) was justified.
“Cameroon kept attacking, even when they were a man down and were courageous, but it meant there was more space for us, so yes, the red card had a contribution.”
Werner only made his debut in March and is soaking up the experience of playing in Russia a year before the World Cup.
“The Confed Cup is a huge experience for all us young players,” he said,
“We’ve all got a glimpse of what it is like to be in a big tournament, we’re looking forward to every match and the challenges.”