In Moscow, Germany took on Mexico in Group F’s opening match. The World Cup 2014 champions are surely looking to retain the trophy. However, Joachim Low admitted that it would be difficult to do so.
Juan Carlos Osorio Inspired His Side
The German coach, who inspired his side to victory four years ago, had selected a talented side. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Julian Draxler started the match. One noticeable omission from the 23-man squad, which got the fans puzzled, is Leroy Sane. Hopefully, the Germans will not pay for not calling up the youngster. Die Mannschaft overcame Saudi Arabia in a 2-1 victory. Prior to that win, the Germans had not won since the turn of the year. It was a crucial and vital victory which would boost the confidence of Low’s boys.
Meanwhile, for Mexico, they had won three of their last six games including a win against Iceland. Coach Osorio was confident that his side would be able to stop the Germans effectively. Looking at the head to head records between the two sides, Germany had lost just one of their last 11 matches against the North Americans. Judging from previous games, the El Tri are known to advance from the group stage only to be knocked out in the following round. It was a tricky match for both side but the odds were certainly in the favor of the Europeans.
With Germany dominating possession, Mexico played on the counter-attack. The strategy proved to be successful as the Central Americans scored first. Although the World Cup 2014 Champions looked dangerous whenever they had players in the box, their resilient opponents refused to concede the first goal. Despite all the action in the second half, Mexico remained strong. Osorio’s game plan succeeded and he inspired his side to a victory.
Osorio Inspired His Side to Victory
Low named a strong starting eleven against the Mexicans. Ozil was back in the starting lineup after recovering from his back and knee injuries. Timo Werner who won the Golden Boot in last year’s Confederations Cup started the game too. With both sides full of attacking talent, it did not take long before they started to attack.
According to the half-time statistics from Squawka, Mexico created nine chances with 36% of the possession whilst Germany came up with only five. The result presented the fact that Osorio’s counter-attack tactics worked. It was simply a joy to watch how the Mexicans have managed to keep the title-holders quiet and frustrate them.
Mexicans Are Dangerous on the Counter
Die Mannschaft dominated possession in the first 45 minutes of the match. When El Tri had the chance to break, they shifted the ball forward extremely quickly. Javier Hernandez had quite a number of chances to test Neuer and take the lead for his side, but his finishing just wasn’t quite right. Overall, the forwards showed that they moved up the pitch with lots of urgency in the game. At times, they outnumbered the number of German defenders. Finally, their efforts paid off with Lozano opening the scoring. The midfielders had left too much space of the Mexicans to run and within a second, the 22-year-old scored.
Throughout the match, the underdogs convinced the fans that numbers do not work. They proved that it was not necessary for the whole team to move forward in order to get onto the scoresheet. The forwards found ample space for them to drive the ball in Germany’s half and took their chances well.
Too Much Space in the Midfield
To put things bluntly, Germany’s midfielders were non-existent when it comes to defending. It was clear and obvious that they wanted to play attacking football. Low’s players wanted to move forward and attack. They looked like they cannot be bothered when Mexico had the ball. Mexico’s first goal took less than ten passes to change from defending to attacking mode. It was that simple and involved only a few players.
All the work was left to the defenders. In order to stop Mexico’s counter-attack, the Nationalelf had to space themselves out evenly. That was certainly not evident in the first 45 minutes of the match. The situation improved a little in the second half. It is puzzling why Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira had not closed down on their opponents as quickly as possible. Hector Herrera controlled the midfield, winning 80% of the tackles and was easily his side’s most effective player.