Portugal will face Chile in the semifinals of Confederations Cup, but La Roja had to struggle to get there. Australia took a first-half lead and proved to be a formidable opponent for the Chileans over all 90 minutes on Sunday, but Chile recovered to draw 1-1 and seal a knockout-round spot.
Chile dominated the opening half-hour and was unlucky not to score. Mat Ryan made a fantastic stop on an 8th minute strike from Arturo Vidal, then pounced on Eduardo Vargas’ weak follow-up attempt as well. The Chileans were also unlucky not to get a penalty in the 26th minute when Alexis Sanchez was shoved in the back in the box, but nothing was given despite a VAR review.
In the 36th minute, Australia sprang to life, with Massimo Luongo forcing Claudio Bravo into an excellent close-range save after a brilliant chipped setup by James Troisi. But the Socceroos didn’t have to wait long for their goal, and the man who deserved an assist on their first great move was the one who got on the scoreboard.
Some poor distribution by Bravo set up an Australian counterattack in the 41st minute, with the ball ending up at the feet of Robbie Kruse at the edge of the box. His shot was blocked, but the deflection turned into a perfect pass for Troisi, who finished from eight yards.
Both teams had huge chances to score just before the break. Trent Sainsbury cleared an Arturo Vidal header off the line in stoppage time, then missed an absolute sitter at the other end just a minute later.
Chile made an attacking substitution at halftime, bringing Martín Rodriguez on for José Fuenzalida. That opened up space for Australia to attack, but having another creative player on the pitch eventually paid off for La Roja in the 67th minute.
Eugenio Mena set up the goal with a cross that Sainsbury got a head to, but couldn’t clear completely. The ball eventually bounced to Vargas, who knocked it down for Rodriguez, the substitute and goal-scorer.
Australia’s best chance to retake the lead came just give minutes later, when Troisi found substitute Jamie MacLaren with a perfect cross. But MacLaren missed badly, and that was the last time that the Aussies came truly close to scoring.