Joeys crash to German juggernaut

Australia have crashed 4-1 to Germany in their opening match of the U-17 World Cup at the Estadio Municipal Nelson Oyarzun Arenas in Chile on Monday morning (AEST).

Goals to Germany skipper Felix Passlack and a brace for  Johannes Eggestein had the Joeys 3-0 down at the break.

A positive start to the second half saw Melbourne Victory starlet Pierce Waring claw back the deficit only for a long range bullet from Vitaly Janelt to restore Germany's three-goal buffer in the tough Group C encounter.

The Aussies began the match brightly making several promising incursions upfield but were left badly exposed at the back and vulnerable to a ruthless counter-attack from the tournament favourites.

Tony Vidmar's side gave their opponents far too much time and space in the first half and were made to pay.

A quick counter caught the Australians on the break as Passlack cut inside from the right wing, and finished clinically across the face of goal to put the Germans ahead in the 14th minute.

The Joeys had an opportunity to equalise at the 24th minute after some brilliant team pressing gave captain Joe Caletti a chance to win the ball in the final third.

He did just that, and found Pierce Waring with a crisp through ball.

But Waring couldn’t convert his opportunity as goalkeeper Constantin Frommann smartly closed him down.

It took just seconds for the Germans to counter again, with Werder Bremen striker Eggestein picking up the ball at the top of the 18-yard-box, before getting a shot away that was saved by Joeys keeper Duro Dragicevic.

But Eggestein was quick on the rebound, getting his head to the shot and nodding it in to double Germany's lead.

The Germans went three-up with minutes to go in the first half after some slick passing play yet again unlocked Australia's defence and Eggestein slammed his shot into the top corner to earn his brace.

The Joeys lifted the tempo in the second-half and were better organised.

And the reward came 10 minutes after the break when a lofted ball over the top of the German defence by Perry Fotakopoulos found Waring, who made up for his earlier miss with a nice chipped finish.

Fotakopoulos almost caught Frommann unawares with a cheeky attempt from distance, but it wasn’t to be with the German keeper punching the effort over the bar.

It didn’t take long for the Germans to quash the Australian uprising, however, as some individual brilliance on the ball from Salih Ozcan opened up the Australians.

A clever square ball found Vitaly Janelt, who powered a shot from 25 yards into the top corner of the net.

The Joeys had a flurry of late chances – including two late free kicks from Liverpool’s Jake Brimmer that fizzed wide – but a second goal wasn’t to be.

It doesn't get any easier for the Australians who now face Mexico on Wednesday before wrapping up the group stage on Saturday against Argentina.

The top-two placed teams in all six groups will automatically qualify for the Round of 16, while the best four third-placed teams will also advance.