Reigning world champions Germany stunned by Mexico in 1-0 defeat
Mexico 1 (Lozano 35’)
By Tim Warren
A 35th minute goal to Mexico’s Hirving Lozano was enough to defeat reigning World Cup champions Germany 1-0 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, despite Die Mannschaft controlling majority of the match for no reward.
— FIFA World Cup ???? (@FIFAWorldCup) June 17, 2018
Mexico has flipped Group F on its head with a tactical masterclass from El Tricolor manager Juan Carlos Osorio, heavily relying on counter-attacking football to upset the Germans in their opening match.
Germany dominated long periods of the match, using their 60 per cent ball possession to record 25 shots at goal, however it was Mexico’s cleverness to ambush Germany’s high-pressing defensive line which proved pivotal in the result.
Mexico’s game plan was structured to use Germany’s own aggressiveness against them, constantly cutting through the centre of the field on a fast-break whenever possession changed over, catching Germany out on multiple occasions.
Hernandez, Lozano and Layun in particular for the Mexicans were outstanding in playing this fast-paced and high intensity game style, making the most of Mexico’s limited possession.
This match was a story of missed opportunities for Germany, who held the ascendancy right from the first whistle with promising early chances on goal to Timo Werner and Mats Hummels within the first five minutes.
El Tricolor then wrestled back some momentum off the Germans, following a powerfully struck shot by Guardado from 25 yards which dipped in front of Neuer, who had to lunge to his knees to prevent the ball from going in the back of the net.
Mexico’s only real period of dominance of the game came in the 10 minutes before they scored the opening goal. They had a number of forays forward with Javier Hernandez wasting two good opportunities when he skied shot over the bar and then failed get a shot away when he was clear in the penalty box..
Hirving Lozano, who was the man of the match, opened the scoring for Mexico in the 35th minute, following a fast counter-attack through the centre of Germany’s defence.
Lozano received a perfectly weighted through-ball from Hernandez, who cut back inside Ozil and finished strongly in the bottom left corner past a diving Neuer.
Toni Kroos had a great opportunity to equalise for Germany three minutes later when a free kick from just outside the box was headed for the top right corner but was magnificently pushed on to the crossbar by Mexico’s goalkeeper Ochoa diving at full-stretch.
While the Germans dominated possession and key chances in the second half, they couldn’t come up with an answer to Mexico’s opening goal.
Germany’s best chance came in the dying minutes, when substitute Julian Brandt thundered a half-volley from 20 yards out onto the left upright.
Mexico’s 39-year old defender Rafael Marquez became just the third player in history to play at five consecutive World Cups, when he was brought on in the 74th minute.
Die Mannschaft’s loss means it’s the third time in the last four World Cups that the defending champion have lost its opening game of the tournament. It was also Germany’s first opening game loss at a World Cup since 1982.
Group F will resume on June 24 when Joachim Low’s side will be looking for redemption against Sweden in Sochi, while Mexico will continue on their quest towards the round-of-16 with a match against Korea Republic at Rostov Arena.
Shots (on target)
Germany: 25 (9)
Mexico: 12 (4)
Germany 2 (Muller 83’, Hummels 84’)
Mexico 2 (Moreno 40’, Herrera 90’)
GERMANY (4-2-3-1): 1. Neuer (C), 2. Plattenhardt (79’), 5. Hummels, 17. Boateng, 18. Kimmich, 6. Khedira (60’), 7. Draxler, 8. Kroos, 10. Ozil, 13. Muller, 9. Werner (86’)
Substitutes: 11. Reus (60’), 23. Gomez (79’), 20. Brandt (86’), 12. Trapp, 22. Ter Stegen, 3. Hector, 4. Ginter, 14. Goretzka, 15. Suele, 16. Ruediger, 19. Rudy, 21. Guendogan
MEXICO (4-2-3-1): 13. Ochoa, 2. Ayala, 3. Salcedo, 15. Moreno, 16. Herrera, 7. Layun, 18, Guardado (C) (74’), 23. Gallardo, 11. Vela (58’), 14. Hernandez, 22. Lozano (66’)
Substitutes: 21. Alvarez (58’), 9. Jimenez (66’), 4. Marquez (74’), 1. Corona, 12. Talavera, 5. Gutierrez, 6. J. Dos Santos, 8. Fabian, 10. G. Dos Santos, 17. J. Corona, 19. Peralta, 20. Aquino