| Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez fails to stop Germany’s Michael Ballack from scoring the winner during the Confederations Cup third-place play-off in Leipzig on Wednesday. (AFP)
Leipzig: Captain Michael Ballack scored with a blistering free-kick in extra time to lead 10-man Germany to a 4-3 win over Mexico and claim third place in the Confederations Cup on Wednesday.
Ballack’s shot from just outside the box rose over the wall and curled into the upper left hand corner past Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez seven minutes into extra time to give Germany victory after Mexico equalised three times during the opening 90 minutes.
Lukas Podolski, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Robert Huth scored for Germany. Jared Borgetti scored twice and Jose Fonseca got the other for Mexico, who were playing extra time for the second time in four days.
Third place gave Germany, who lost striker Mike Hanke to a red card nine minutes into the second half, some consolation after losing 3-2 to Brazil in the semi-finals.
Mexico, who upset Brazil 1-0 in the group stage, were beaten in their semi-final by Argentina 6-5 on penalties.
Brazil and Argentina were meeting in the final in Frankfurt later on Wednesday.
Earlier, Young striker Hanke was named in Germany’s starting line-up.
Coach Juergen Klinsmann made three other changes. Oliver Kahn replaced Jens Lehmann as part of the regular goalkeeper rotation and Andreas Hinkel came in for injured right back Arne Friedrich.
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, also 20, returned from suspension in place of Fabian Ernst.
Germany were without defender Arne Friedrich, but were otherwise at full streng th.
Hertha Berlin captain Friedrich bruised a calf in the semi-final loss to Brazil and had to stop training on Tuesday due to the pain, the DFB said on its website.
However, central defender Per Mertesacker and strikers Gerald Asamoah and Lukas Podolski had shaken off light injuries .
Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe also made two changes. Jose Fonseca replaced midfielder Jaime Lozano and Luis Perez came in for captain and defender Rafael Marquez, who was sent off in Mexico’s semi-final defeat by Argentina.
Germany: 1-Oliver Kahn; 2-Andreas Hinkel, 17-Per Mertesacker, 4-Robert Huth, 19-Bernd Schneider; 10-Sebastian Deisler, 8-Torsten Frings, 13-Michael Ballack (c), 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger; 9-Mike Hanke, 20-Lukas Podolski.
Mexico: 1-Oswaldo Sanchez; 3-Carlos Salcido, 5-Ricardo Osorio, 14-Gonzalo Pineda; 16-Mario Mendez, 22-Luis Perez, 8-Pavel Pardo (c), 7-Zinha, 11-Ramon Morales; 9-Jared Borgetti, 17-Jose Fonseca.
Referee: Matthew Breeze (Australia).