The defending champions were a shadow of their usual selves as they stumbled to a shock opening defeat in Moscow.
Germany succumbed to a shock 0-1 defeat to Mexico in their Group F opener in the 2018 FIFA World Cup thanks to Hirving Lozano’s fantastic first-half goal. The defending champions looked shockingly poor and were made to pay for lapses in concentration, which allowed the Mexicans to record a famous victory.
So let’s have a look at the talking points for the game.
Watch: Germany 0-1 Mexico highlights
5. Germany are lacking a clinical goalscorer
Germany conjured up many chances throughout the game and the distribution in midfield and long-balls from Jerome Boateng were especially effective. But, something which plagued them was the lack of a proper goalscorer, with both Timo Werner and Thomas Muller failing on the day. While the latter seemed lost in his new role, Werner was impressive in patches, but failed to step up when it mattered.
With Mario Gomez failing to impress again, Germany will hope someone else can step up to the plate next time around. There is no Miroslav Klose to save their blushes this time and Muller needs to step up his game and be the goalscoring machine he’s known to be on the international stage.
4. Hirving Lozano is one for the future
Hirving Lozano announced himself to the footballing world in style thanks to a terrific performance against Germany, where he terrorized the German defense. The PSV winger was a sight to behold on the left, where he showed electric pace and dribbling ability, which could impress anyone.
Lozano took his goal well, going past Mesut Ozil before powerfully beating Manuel Neuer at the near post. At 22 years of age, the youngster definitely has a lot left in him and is certain to be hounded by the “big” European clubs after such a delightful performance.
3. The Khedira-Ozil Dilemma
Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira might be two core players in the German national team, but they were both very underwhelming and contributed to the shocking loss. Khedira didn’t seem to know his role on the field and failed to support Toni Kroos in midfield. His defensive output was limited and often left Joshua Kimmich unguarded whilst on the overlap.
Ozil, on the other hand was a frustrating figure, mostly due to his laziness and absence of the pinpoint creatively for which he’s famous for. Germany need to make a major decision on the duo in the next matches and if needed, should replace them with better candidates, or suffer the same fate Spain and Italy did with their overreliance on the “old guard” in 2014 and 2010.
2. Mexico’s solidarity can help them overcome Round-Of-16 jinx
Mexico might have a curse of their own and seem unable to go past the World Cup Round of 16 stages having progressed through the group in the last eight tournaments and losing out in every single one of them at this juncture.
But, that could change this time out, because they look like a much more organized outfit. Their solidarity and synchronization as a team is much better this time around and they also have some unpredictable match-winners. Juan Carlos Osorio seems to have done a great job in instilling confidence in the team and could help them go a long way in the tournament.
1. Germany need motivation to avoid the champions’ curse
The champions curse seems to have been the only thing which didn’t allow Germany to get a result against Mexico. Despite being threatened by their counter-attacks and conceding that goal, the defending champions created a lot of chances and were the dominant side for the better period of the game. They hit the post twice, thanks to two worldly efforts and saw each one of their shots on goal either being blocked or somehow go wide.
This is quite unfamiliar to territory for a ruthless side like Germany and Joachim Low needs to bring out his team’s best to avoid further humiliation. He needs to motivate and charge his troops to give more in the next two matches, which should be easily winnable for Germany, unless they self-destruct.