The reigning world champions have officially gotten their World Cup campaign underway, but it wasn’t exactly the start they’d been anticipating. Despite many fans writing off Mexico before they were even able to kick a ball, they defied all forms of logic by overcoming Germany and registering a 1-0 victory. The Germans never looked like they were at the races from the first minute, with their opposition seeming far more hungry throughout the course of the game.
The tempo was always going to be high but few expected Mexico to be the ones who were setting the pace, and for the first half hour, many were wondering whether or not they’d regret not taking their early chances. Alas, they shouldn’t have worried, as Hirving Lozano cut inside following a decisive breakaway and put the Mexicans into the lead with just 10 minutes remaining until halftime. Germany were slow to react in more ways than one aside from Toni Kroos’ free-kick that struck the bar, and if anything, Mexico looked like the ones who were going to add to their advantage.
One of the big questions coming into the tournament was whether or not Guillermo Ochoa would be able to replicate his sensational form from the 2014 World Cup. The answer was a resounding yes as he dealt with everything that came his way in a calm and reasonable manner, which was certainly needed as the game progressed with Mexico slowly becoming more and more fatigued.
The shape and direction of this German side just felt like a million miles away from where they want to be, and while there are still two group stage games remaining, the statistics certainly aren’t in their favour. This is the first time they’ve tasted defeat in their opening World Cup game since 1982, and the only team to actually go on and lift the trophy after doing so was Spain back in 2010. While it’s certainly possible that they could replicate that feat, they’ll need to change things up and fast.
To their credit, they did pile on the pressure late in the game, but any kind of result other than a loss would’ve been extremely harsh on Mexico. Their progression over the last four years has been remarkable given that they barely even scraped by in qualifying for Brazil, and now, they look like a team who could easily achieve their goal of reaching ‘game five’ aka the quarter-finals.
Germany will take comfort in the fact that many favourites such as Argentina, Portugal and Spain have all dropped points in their openers, with France looking unimpressive too despite their triumph over Australia.
Next up for the winners will be South Korea in the 4pm kick-off on Saturday, whereas Germany will attempt to rebound from this setback against Sweden later that day.
Germany: Neuer (6.5), Kimmich (5), Boateng (5.5), Hummels (5), Plattenhardt (5.5), Kroos (6), Khedira (5), Muller (6), Ozil (5.5), Draxler (5), Werner (6), Reus (6)
Mexico: Ochoa (8), Salcedo (6.5), Ayala (7.5), Moreno (6.5), Gallardo (7), Herrera (7.5), Guardado (6.5), Layun (6), Vela (6.5), Lozano (8), Hernandez (6), Alvarez (6), Jimenez (6), Marquez (N/A)
Referee: Alireza Faghani
Yellow Cards: Hummels, Muller, Moreno, Herrera
Red Cards: N/A
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