The world champion entered the competition this afternoon against Mexico. Germany, which logically acts as a favourite alongside Brazil, among others, wanted to get off to a good start. For this match, Joachim Löw lined up a rather classic 4-2-3-1, with Neuer well present in the cages, while Timo Werner occupied the point of the attack. The Parisian Draxler had a good start on the left flank of the attack. On the Mexican side, there was an interesting offensive arsenal, with Lozano, Vela or Chicharito lined up together. And in the end, Mexico surprised the German side with this 1-0 victory.
From the first minute, Lozano was tackled at the very last moment by Boateng as he was about to crucify Neuer. The German defence was not necessarily calm. Germany responded instantly with Werner’s rather over-crossed shot (3′). The meeting was open, and Neuer was still present on this distant attempt of Herrera (10th). The Mexicans were well in the match, and Chicharito, with his head, still solicited the Bavarian doorman (15′). The Germanists, too, made their way to the Mexican surface, creating danger in every approximation. As a pivot, Werner forced Ochoa to lie down quickly (20′). The same for Kroos, on a distant attempt (23rd). But it was the Mexicans who created the hottest situations for themselves, taking advantage of the German defensive widths. The Americans were more precise in their signals, more disciplined, winning their duels.
Germany dominated in first period
And they were going to be rewarded through Hirving Lozano. After a roundly conducted action, Chicharito served the PSV player who was crocheting, then crucified Neuer (0-1, 35′). An opening score deserved, but very quickly, the Germans reacted. Kroos, on free-kick, shipped the leather on the Ochoa bar (39′). But the world champions had to be wary, since the Mexicans were particularly dangerous on counter-attacks, with a very good Lozano in particular. The German reaction was therefore eagerly awaited on the way back from the dressing rooms, and the Mannschaft players returned with better intentions, but the Mexicans continued to spin the ball well and were solid behind. Chicharito and Vela, in two against one, were even able to bend the meeting, but the two men did not understand each other (57′).
With Reus taking the Place of Khedira at the time of the game, the plans of the German coach were very clear : all for the attack. Kimmich, with a nice acrobatic gesture, was close to making the difference, but he saw the leather spinning just above the bar (65′)! Alone on the second post, Werner was unable to frame his recovery (67′). Mexico even went to 5-3-2 to try to keep that short advantage. Kroos made the whole Stadium tremble with this beautiful coiled from the outside of the surface, not framed by little (76′). Layun, on counter-attack, offered himself a slalom up to the neuer cages but did not fit (78′)! The chances were on both sides, and both 1-1 and 2-0 had as much chance of falling. But Mexico held on, and despite chances from Mario Gomez or Brandt, Germany could not get back to the scoreboard…
Relive the movie of the game on our live commentary.
Man of the game: Guardado (7): The experienced midfielder did a lot of defensive work, being one of the main culprits for the lack of fluidity in the game of German selection, harassing the ball bearer and cutting the lines permanently. The turntable of the Mexican game also; going down to look for the balloons very low before ensuring a always clean transmission. He gave way to veteran Rafa Marquez (73′), who helped solidify the Aztec Defense.
– Neuer (5): return to the competition for the last German rampart after a serious foot injury. While he had the opportunity to reassure during a friendly match, a doubt remained regarding his level for his return to high level. The captain of the Mannschaft did not really have any parades to make in the first act, except on strikes from afar (8e, 14e). Abandoned by his defense, he couldn’t do much about Lozano’s goal (35′). From a personal point of view, he played a decent game.
– Kimmich (4,5): the versatile right-back had a nice client in front of him this afternoon, the young follicle Lozano. Usually carried forward, he was a little bit more confined to a defensive role this afternoon. And he struggled to contain his direct opponent. While he did not make individual mistakes, he suffered a lot in his hallway. Note a nice acrobatic flip that was spinning over the cross-section (65′).
– Hummels (5): The technical leader of the German Defense made as usual a clean game technically. His ease with the ball allowed his team to bring out the leather properly. He did not hesitate to wear the leather to get his team block up and to climb to the opponent’s surface to bring the supernumber (6′). A certain attraction towards the Mexican goal that left great largesse in his defense.
– Boateng (5,5): solid, serious and diligent, the German control tower answered present in the duel delivered by the Mexicans. The rough-ass German defenseman made a name for himself to contain Chicharito. Author of a life-saving return from the first minute. In counter situations, he was clearly abandoned by his partner in the axis.
– Plattenhardt (4,5): in the absence of Jonas Hector, who was ill, it was the left side of Hertha Berlin who took his place in the left corridor. He performed well overall. The Mexican game clearly leaning on the other side, it was less solicited than its counterpart on the right. Replaced by Mario Gomez in the 79th minute. The latter had time to place a head… off-frame (87′) and a heel stopped by Ochoa (89′).
– Kroos (6): As usual, the German turntable attracted all the balls in the middle of the field. The first slingshot of his team, he distributed the set of his own and gave the tempo thanks to His perfect mastery of both the short and the long game. On the approach to the repair surface, he did not hesitate to strike from afar (22nd, 76th, 84th). And his free-kick accuracy was as admirable as ever, even though the crossbar had crossed his path (39′). Clearly the most dangerous German side.
– Khedira (5,5): next to Toni Kroos, the watchdog of the Mannschaft did the thankless work by trying to rake all the balloons. To harass the ball carrier, to hinder the construction of the opponent, The number 6 of the Nationalmannschaft carried out the work of the shadow that relieved his team. But he was far too alone in this line to fill the many gaps left by the Mexican counter-attacks. Replaced by Reus at the time of the game, the BVB winger made his first appearance in the World Cup after having experienced terrible disillusions in 2014 and at the Euro 2016.
– Müller (4) : the swiss army knife of Germany love the World Cup. It is a competition that he particularly likes, but for this opening match, he experienced the worst difficulties of the world to distinguish himself offensively. Very little movement with his teammates to try to destabilize the opposing Defense. Usually so well placed, he did not know how to get rid of the opposing marker to get into the scoring position.
– Özil (3): The German maestro had the heavy task of organizing his team’s game forward. Although its technical quality is no longer to be presented, it tends to be discreet or even transparent during major meetings. And that is exactly what happened this afternoon. Forced to go down on the field to touch the leather, he never managed to put his striker in the scoring position. Waste in his game, bad choices, disappointing performance. He was eliminated too easily on Lozano’s goal (35′).
– Draxler (4): after playing in the Confederations Cup as Captain, the attacking midfielder of Paris SG had won his place in the German eleven for this World Cup. A confidence that the latter had a lot of difficulty to justify on his left wing. His direct opponent, Salcedo, was able to muzzle him, which often forced him to fold in the axis. Some situations where he was in a good firing position, but far too imprecise in the last move.
– Werner (3,5): despite his young age (22 years), Leipzig’s number 9 occupied the role of indisputable starting point on the front of the German attack. If he turned on the first fuse (2nd) and made a nice swivel control and shot sequence (20th), he slowly disappeared from the circulation over the minutes. Rarely found in a good position, he was generally very discreet. Replaced by Brandt at 86th, who failed on his half-volley that was a few inches from the frame (89th).
– Ochoa (6,5): the Mexican doorman has been asked many times, and he has always answered present, capturing the ball well on several long attempts in the first period for example. In the end, he didn’t necessarily have to make a high-class save (9 in total), as German chances were often quite axial, but he was clean, reassuring, and didn’t make any mistakes. He also had some success with the two strikes on the German amount.