Liverpool midfielder Emre Can produced a strong display despite Germany struggling to a 1-1 draw with Chile at the Confederations Cup on Thursday.
The 23-year-old came off the bench as Joachim Low’s side beat Australia 3-2 on Monday, but was one of four changes to take on the current Copa America champions.
Taking on a side that included Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, Germany struggled to impose themselves throughout in Kazan.
But Can, who took up a deep-lying role in midfield with license to burst forward, was in impressive form throughout, with the Reds’ No. 23 presiding over the midfield battle.
Germany got off to a miserable start, with Sanchez latching onto a mistake from Shkodran Mustafi to fire Chile ahead on six minutes, becoming his country’s all-time top goalscorer in the process.
Chile continued to threaten, with Sanchez at the heart of some positive forward movement and former Wigan left-back Jean Beausejour providing the width alongside him.
This ensured Low’s young Germany were on the back-foot for much of the game, but Can thrived in the conditions.
He retained possession well throughout and provided some much-needed strength to the midfield, shielding the ball against a robust Chile unit, while getting forward whenever possible.
It was Can who prompted Germany’s equaliser on 41 minutes, driving into space in the middle of the park before playing a sumptuous through ball to Jonas Hector, who squared for Lars Stindl.
This proved to be the last goal of the game, with Can playing all 90 minutes as Low made no changes.
Germany’s final game of Group B comes against Cameroon on June 25, and they are currently tied with Chile on four points, with a draw on Sunday enough to secure progress to the semi-finals.
Speaking after the game to Russian outlet TASS, Can underlined his ambition to advance to the last four of an enjoyable tournament.
“So far, so good, and I think that everybody is enjoying playing in the Confederations Cup,” he said.
“We have a very young team and everybody is enjoying to play. [Our aim is] to win that game and come through the group.”
Can is set to return late to Liverpool’s pre-season due to his commitments in Russia, while he is yet to put pen to paper on a contract extension with the club.
His current deal expires at the end of next season, with Juventus interested, but the Reds won’t entertain any offers this summer, confident he will sign improved terms at Anfield.