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 By Nick Ames

Cameroon, Australia miss their chance at deeper Confederations Cup run

Both Australia and Cameroon fought gamely, but an overall lack of quality in depth means their stays in Russia will be short.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Four-and-a-half months ago, Vincent Aboubakar caused shockwaves by volleying a marvellous winner to give Cameroon an unlikely Africa Cup of Nations title in Gabon. It was a goal from nothing, the kind of bolt from the blue that bears replaying for years. Faced with a much simpler chance in St. Petersburg, after 56 minutes and with his side a goal up against Australia, he blazed a shot off-target from in front of the posts. With that opportunity, his country's Confederations...

Germany's second string earn draw vs. Chile that bodes well for World Cup

Steve Nicol and Shaka Hislop break down what stood out for them in Germany's 1-1 draw with Chile.

KAZAN, Russia -- Earlier this month, Joachim Low was forced to defend himself against accusations of "making the heart of football fans bleed" by choosing to tackle Germany's Confederations Cup campaign with an inexperienced squad in Russia, rather than the stars who helped lift the World Cup in Brazil three years ago.

It was Alexey Sorokin, head of Russia's World Cup organising committee, who claimed that Low's decision went against the whole idea of a fan attending a football match -- to watch...

 By Tom Marshall

Mexico's comeback win over New Zealand is one to forget

Herculez Gomez and the FC panel look at Mexico's lacklustre win over New Zealand and the changes that affected their play.

SOCHI, Russia -- Three quick thoughts from Mexico's 2-1 win over New Zealand in the group stage of the Confederations Cup on Wednesday.

1. A win to forget for Mexico

Mexico 2-1 New Zealand. It certainly doesn't read like the convincing scoreline El Tri fans were hoping for and there was very little of comfort for them, apart from Mexico scraping by and earning the three points.

Chris Wood put New Zealand into the lead three minutes before half-time and there was nothing fortunate about the...

Germany's second string pass their test -- but only just -- vs. Australia

Three different goalscorers helped Germany edge a resolute Australia in their Confederations Cup Group B opener.
Three different goalscorers helped Germany edge a resolute Australia in their Confederations Cup Group B opener.
Mark Donaldson and Alejandro Moreno dissect Joachim Low's much-changed Germany side after a narrow win over Australia.

SOCHI, Russia -- The clock at Sochi's Fisht Olympic stadium read 89:41 when Australia went up to take a corner. Germany were leading 3-2, and Joachim Low was more touchy and fidgety than usual in his technical area. The Socceroos' fans -- sparse but noisy -- howled in anticipation. They were joined by the Russian neutrals, at least those who weren't spending the last 20 minutes of the second half trying (unsuccessfully) to start a wave.

The corner was cleared away, but the moment was in itself...

Amid ongoing VAR debate, Chile put aside frustration to beat Cameroon

Ale Moreno breaks down Chile's high-intensity style of play, and how it could potentially harm them in the long run.
Despite a bevy of chances and a disallowed goal, Chile left it to two late goals to see themselves past stubborn Cameroon.
Despite a bevy of chances and a disallowed goal, Chile left it to two late goals to see themselves past stubborn Cameroon.
With a few controversial decisions already in the books, the FC crew provide their early thoughts on the impact of VAR.
Janusz Michallik has concerns about the use of VAR at the Confederations Cup after Chile's win over Cameroon.
Andrew Kabuura and Daniel Amokachi recap the key points from Mexico's draw with Portugal and Chile's win over Cameroon.

MOSCOW -- On a night that could have ended up being defined by three letters -- VAR -- it's probably a good thing that ultimately it was a "V" and an "A" that made all the difference. "V" -- as in Vidal (Arturo)  -- who kangarooed at the far post to tuck in a cross from the "A" -- as in Alexis (Sanchez) -- past Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa.

There were nine minutes left at the time, and the goal saw a heavily pro-Chile crowd -- the total attendance was 33,492 in a stadium that holds 45,360...

 By Nick Ames

Mixed fortunes for Ronaldo; Portugal continue to be reliant on their star

Alexis Nunes and Janusz Michallik break down Mexico's draw with Portugal and the use of VAR at the Confederations Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo weaved his way through Mexico's defense with ease and perfectly sets up Ricardo Quaresma for Portugal's opening goal.
Hector Moreno's late header salvaged a precious point for Mexico in a riveting draw with Portugal.
Hector Moreno's late header salvaged a precious point for Mexico in a riveting draw with Portugal.

KAZAN, Russia -- Man-of-the-match awards at major tournaments are not renowned for their originality but it still seemed a questionable move when, amid a chaotic finale to Portugal's 2-2 draw with Mexico, FIFA announced that Cristiano Ronaldo had been voted the game's stand-out player.

Ronaldo had not been bad at all; he created one goal and was involved in another and also hit the bar in the first half. But singling him out simply brought him into focus -- where none more was really needed -- and...