0-1: Mexico Claim Win Against Germany

Mexico’s Hirving Lozano celebrates goal against Germany. Image: Sports Illustrated

Moscow was temporarily transformed into the Estadio Azteca on Sunday when Mexico took on Germany in a heavyweight matchup. Germany, the defending champions, were heavily favored for their group, while Mexico were picked to finish in second. However, it was Mexico who dominated the entire game. Playing largely on the counter against a possession-heavy Germany team, the attacking trident of Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez were able to link up effectively and create many chances in and around the German box. Lozano scored, sneaking a finish past Manuel Neuer at the near post after a lovely counterattack. Mexico easily could have gone into the half up three-nil, but it remained a one-goal lead for los Tri. The second half saw similar action, with Germany throwing bodies forward, but resolute Mexican defending and well-timed counterattacks kept Germany off the scoresheet. Guillermo Ochoa continued his excellent World Cup form in goal for Mexico, and he escaped with a clean sheet as Mexico toppled the defending world champions.

Mexico Crack The Code

Germany eased into the World Cup having taken every possible point from their UEFA qualifiers. However, after today’s game, Mexico have given Germany’s opponents a blueprint for success: defend hard, and keep two forwards up top to look to counter. Mexico demonstrated remarkable commitment to defending, but their ability to mix possession with long balls is a formula that will be hard to replicate. Mexico also benefited greatly from the absence of starting left-back Jonas Hector, who remained in the team camp with the flu. Not every team will be able to hold off Germany’s attack for so long, but Mexico have laid the foundations for other potential victories.

Brandt Shows Why He’s In Russia

Julian Brandt was only on the pitch for ten minutes, yet he might have mustered Germany’s best chance of the day. He was pacy and skillful, and he showed excellent technique. Perhaps a start is in line for him in one of the two remaining group stage matches. It is important to remember that oftentimes tactics are more important than quality – that is, a player’s ability to fit into the preferred scheme of his coach is more important than that players’ overall ability. For this reason, some star players (possibly Thomas Muller, who drastically underperformed) might see themselves coming off the bench in favor of a new style and approach.

What Germany Need to Change

Timo Werner thrives by playing off the shoulder of the last defender and utilizing his pace to get in behind. He was able to do this initially, but as Mexico committed more and more bodies back and dropped their defensive line, he was largely quieted. Werner should certainly be the starting striker for Germany, but he cannot be the only attacking outlet. With accomplished distributors like Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil in the midfield, Werner and his wingers should not be afraid to look to stretch the field. Furthermore, Joshua Kimmich was consistently caught too high up the pitch. While it is in his nature as an attacking fullback to look to support the offense, his lack of pure recovery pace was one of the reasons Mexico were so effective on the counter. Either Germany have to drop a more defensive midfielder into their lineup or they need to communicate better, as it is in no one’s best interest to see Mesut Ozil as the last defender (as he was for Lozano’s goal).


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