For the fourth time in five tournaments, the defending champions failed to win their opening match at the World Cup.
Germany made a disastrous start to their bid to win back-to-back World Cups with a shock 1-0 defeat by Mexico.
Here are five thoughts from the game
BIG NAMES DON’T PLAY FOOTBALL
Who thought that Mexico would come out tops against Germany? In a first-half display of an intent to win, Mexico took the Germans by surprise. The Mexicans made their point clear; big names and pedigree do not play football. There was no fear in the eyes of the Mexicans as they pegged back the Germans with some impressive display of quick passing and intelligent counter-attacking play.
LE ROY SANE MISSED?
The German machines were unable to cope with the quick passing and pace of Mexico’s attacks. In Mexico’s defensive third, the Germans lacked one who was able to stretch the defence of the Mexicans. Sane’s presence would have offered a different dynamism to this German side as he possesses quick feet and is very direct with his playing style. It is true that Sane has not been impressive when in German colours but this is the world cup, every footballer’s dream.
MEXICO NOT CLINICAL ENOUGH
Mexico’s game plan was to utilize their pace to damaging effect. In the first half, they were completely dominant and played with real pace. In the second half, they set up to be more defensive with the aim of catching the Germans on the break. Considering the number of times they got in behind the German defence, they should have been more clinical. The Mexicans deserved more than a single goal. If they will go further than their usual round of 16 place then they need to work on their goal scoring capacity.
GERMANY NEEDS VARIATION
The Germans initiated most of their attacks from the right wing. In effect, Josh Kimmich was mostly high up the pitch and the gaps he left behind was exploited very well by the Mexicans. Hirving Lozano combined effectively with Guardado Andres to exploit the spaces left behind by Kimmich. Most often, Joshua Kimmich was nowhere to be found when the Mexicans hit them on the break. The style of the Germans was all too predictable as they passed among themselves so many times without really breaking down the Mexican defensive wall. Germany completed 516 passes as opposed to Mexico’s 228 but were still unable to score a single goal. The Germans were limited to shooting and though they came up with 25 attempts on goal, none was able to rattle Mexico’s, Guillermo Ochoa. Germany will definitely need to work on different attacking styles and combinations other than the plan they executed today if they are to defend their crown. Germany simply had no answer to the astute defending and direct counter-attacks of the Mexicans.
GERMANY’S FRAGILE DEFENCE
The relative ease with which the Mexicans were able to break through the German defence is really worrying. Germany needs to find the right balance between defensive solidity and attacking flair if they intend to live up to their high expectations. If Mexico had been clinical enough, the scoreline would have been different. The German midfield was also very slow in dealing with the fast-paced one touch counter-attacking play of the Mexicans.
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