Germany begins its World Cup title defense on Sunday with a game against at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The Germans are trying to become the first country to win consecutive World Cups since Brazil in 1962.
Peep! Mexico, in green shirts and white shorts, get the ball rolling to a huge cheer. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. They haven’t beaten the Germans, who are in white shirts and black shorts, since 1985. But they’re showing no fear. They pour forward straight away and Lozano bursts into the area from the left, tearing away from Kimmich, who can’t handle the winger’s pace. Lozano moves on to his right foot and looks certain to beat Neuer, only for Boateng to desperately divert his shot over!
2 min: This isn’t a convincing start from the German defence at all. In comes the corner and they’re all at sea again as the ball’s headed down. Neuer plunges down in the six-yard box, though, before the ball can be bundled past him.
3 min: Now it’s Germany’s turn to threaten, Kimmich showing up in a deep position on the right and slipping a pass through to Werner, who uses his pace to stream away from Moreno. The striker decides he might as well shoot from a tight angle but his effort zips past the far post.
5 min: We’ve gone two minutes without a chance. This is a disgrace. “Some pity for Ter Stegen – does marvellously all season for Barcelona and during the Germany warm-ups, then gets dumped when Neuer come back from injury,” Charles Antaki says. “No doubt he is wishing his team mate well for the match, but watch for the TV director cutting to a close up if and when Neuer makes a rick of a save.”
7 min: Draxler glides inside from the left and coaxes a past through to Muller, who wins a corner. Germany take it short and Draxler almost combines with Muller again. Mexico think that Draxler’s offside but play continues. The ball runs to Hummels, who shoots straight at Ochoa from 18 yards.
8 min: Mexico pour forward and Vela storms through the middle, Germany’s central midfielders nowhere to be seen. Lozano’s clear on the left again but Vela can’t pick him out. He can win a free-kick, though, Hummels bringing him down 25 yards from goal. This is a chance. Miguel Layun fancies it.
9 min: Layun’s disappointing effort drifts harmlessly over the bar. And breathe. This is a cracking game.
10 min: Herrera lets fly from 25 yards but Neuer fields the midfielder’s powerful effort easily enough. Mexico look threatening.
12 min: Ozil dinks a pass over the top to Kimmich. Lozano’s dozed off. But Kimmich only manages to poke a cross into Ochoa’s grateful grasp.
13 min: Mexico are exerting the high press, which is making it hard for Germany to get out. The champions are unsettled. Guarardo hounds Kroos, who falls over and picks the ball up. That’s handball! The Iranian referee spots it, awards Mexico a free-kick on the right and tells Kroos to shove it.
14 min: So, a free-kick to Mexico on the right. Layun swings it in and Moreno rises almost unchallenged, only for his downward header to bounce a little too close to Neuer. A couple of yards to the right and that was probably the opening goal. Mexico are having a lot of fun at the moment.
15 min: This is a ridiculous game. Kimmich curls a cross towards the far post. Salcedo, with Draxler lurking behind him, almost scores an own-goal. He’s relieved to see his unwitting clearance dribble just past the right post. Nothing comes from the corner.
16 min: Kroos’s shot hits his own man and goes wide. “This has Germany 1-0 Mexico written all over it,” says Paul in Toronto.
17 min: “I doubt there’s an attacking player on the pitch who’s as good as let alone better than Leroy Sane,” says Niall Mullen. “Regardless of how it affects Germany I think Löw has cheated us out of watching one of the most thrilling attackers in Europe.”
18 min: Germany are so uncomfortable at the back. Vela rumbles through the middle and manages to slip a pass through to Hernandez, who’s unmarked on the left of the area. Hernandez has a sight of goal but he can’t get the ball out of his feet and ends up losing the opportunity. “I have never seen so many silver foxes on one team,” Ian Copestake says. “Germany seem like a premature Grandad-eleven.”
20 min: Germany go direct and Mexico fail to deal with a long ball. Werner causes problems and the ball falls kindly to him. He spins and shoot straight at Ochoa. Draxler, unmarked to his left, is furious that he didn’t get a pass. But I suppose that’s what No9s do.
22 min: Ozil sprays a pass out to Draxler on the left. He cuts inside and tries to make space for a shot. Instead, he lays the ball off to Kroos, who rips one goalwards with his left foot from 25 yards. Ochoa dives to his left to save.
23 min: Mexico are dangerous every time they break. Lozano opens up his legs this time and knocks a pass forwards to Hernandez, who sees a shot blocked by Boateng.
24 min: The first yellow card of the afternoon goes to Kimmich, who caught Herrera with a high boot.
26 min: Khedira wins a free-kick on the right. Kroos whips it in but it’s not long before Mexico are whirring forward again. Lozano’s the threat on the left but he runs into traffic after driving inside. A promising move ends with Layun firing over from 20 yards. Mexico just need more composure in the final third. They have so much space. They’re quicker than the Germans.
28 min: A loose pass runs through to Vela on the left. Kimmich has disappeared again. Yet Mexico are struggling to come up with the killer pass. Vela’s attempted cross is cut out too easily by Boateng. You sense that Germany are going to make them pay eventually.
29 min: Layun shoots straight at Neuer from 25 yards.
31 min: Germany were subjected to a similar chasing by Algeria in 2014. They still won. When they’re down, you have to make the punches count. Mexico still have nothing to show for their dominance.
33 min: Gallardo takes on Kimmich on the left and drills in a low cross. Germany hastily clear the ball.
34 min: The Mexican fans are oléing their passes. That won’t end well, will it?
GOAL! Germany 0-1 Mexico (Lozano, 35 min)
It’s been coming!
This is a magnificent breakaway goal! Another Germany attack breaks down after more ponderousness and Mexico snappily win the ball back. Hernandez injects urgency into the Mexico counter, turning brilliantly near halfway to leave Hummels and Boateng wheezing. He leads the attack and eventually spots Lozano in space on the left. This time the pass is perfect. Lozano cuts inside again, beating Ozil, who had desperately hared back to provide cover. Lozano finally has space for a shot with his right foot and he hammers the ball low to Neuer’s right!
37 min: Mexico are immediately under pressure, conceding a free-kick 25 yards from goal. It was Lozano on Kimmich. Kroos fancies this.
39 min: Draxler and Kroos stand over the ball. It’s in a central position and could be made for a left-footer or a right-footer. In the end Kroos wins the argument. He whips it over the wall with his right foot but Ochoa springs to his left and fingertips the ball on to the bar and away to safety! What a save! What a sport!
40 min: Moreno picks up a booking for timewasting. There is quite a lot of time left.
41 min: “Liverpool fan here,” Gokul Kannan says. “People constantly underestimate how much quality is required to play on the counter. It is an easy decision for an inferior team to sit back and play on the counter. But being decisive and making use of each counter is a completely different question. The first and second pass in a counter attack has to be so precise. It is amazingly thrilling to watch. Love the way Portugal and Mexico are doing it.”
43 min: Mexico will keep attacking. Vela leads another lightning burst but he picks the wrong pass, going right instead of left. Then the ball slides just too far in front of Lozano on the left.
45 min: Vela, who has been outstanding, jabs a shot just wide from 20 yards. He hasn’t really lived up to his potential, has he? But he’s using his talent to excellent effect here. Germany can’t handle him.
45 min+1: There will be one added minute.
Half-time: Germany 0-1 Mexico
The holders are in trouble. They have been thoroughly outplayed by Mexico, who fully deserve the lead given to them by Hirving Lozano. The Mexicans have battered Germany, who have looked slow and ponderous, and it could be more than 1-0. Germany haven’t lost an opening game since 1982. That run’s under huge threat.
46 min: Germany begin the second half.
48 min: Plattenhardt shoots straight at Ochoa from 25 yards. The question will be how much Mexico sit back. Will they stick or twist? What’s clear, surely, is that Kimmich can’t leave as much space as he did in the first half. Surely his attacking threat has been neutralised by the way he’s been targeted by Mexico.
51 min: Lozano, who is probably going to get a big move after this tournament, runs at Kimmich on the left. But he ends up dribbling it out of play.
52 min: Mexico obviously have a lot of attacking talent but there’s an argument their fearless approach is a lesson for other unfancied teams. Egypt received praise for almost holding Uruguay on Friday but I think they missed a trick and ended up paying for their negative approach. Though Peru lost to Denmark yesterday, I thought they created enough to win and could still sneak through – there’s no need for them to change their template. Grinding hasn’t really worked for the smaller countries so far.
55 min: Germany are showing more confidence. They’re moving the ball with more urgency. Ozil feeds Draxler on the left. His effort takes a deflection and the wrongfooted Ochoa is relieved to see it spin past the right post.
56 min: Mexico haven’t really had an attack since the restart. There’s a hint of panic. Germany are forcing them back.
57 min: Mexico finally enjoy a counterattack. Plattenhardt has bombed forward, allowing Hernandez to scoot clear down the right, with Boateng the only man back. Lozano’s free to his left and Germany are all over the place. Yet Hernandez just overcooks the pass, forcing Lozano wide. The winger turns and tees up Guadardo, who wellies one over from 20 yards.
58 min: Mexico make a defensive change, Edson Alvarez replacing Carlos Vela.
60 min: Germany make their first change: Marco Reus replaces Sami Khedira.
62 min: Kroos and Reus get themselves into a muddle on the right of the Mexico area. The ball runs out for a goal-kick. The encouraging thing for Germany is that Mexico are starting to sit back, though. There’s a long way to go.
64 min: Germany have had 59% of the possession. Much good it’s done them. Mexico have been far more effective.
65 min: Boateng dinks a cross into the middle. Miroslav Klose Jurgen Klinsmann Joshua Kimmich tries an overhead kick that loops inches over the bar and on to the roof of the net
66 min: The disappointing Werner runs at Salcedo and tries to cross. The ball rebounds off the Mexico right-back, hits Werner and goes behind for a goal-kick.
66 min: Hirving Lozano, whose goal separates the side, is taken off for Raul Jimenez, who’ll be playing for Wolves next season.
67 min: A misjudgement from Salcedo sees a cross from the right bounce to Draxler. He controls and sees his curling shot take a deflection and dip wide.
70 min: Mexico counter for the first time in a while. Layun threads a pass through to Hernandez, who can’t really run. Therefore he decides to fall over in the area and claim a push by Hummels. Nope. Germany eventually get a free-kick.
71 min: Marco Reus tries to cushion a cross into the middle. Gallardo blocks it with his face and collapses. The ball comes back to Reus, who belts a volley over from a tight angle. Gallardo will need some treatment.
73 min: Rafael Marquez replaces Guadardo and takes the armband. He’s equalled the record of captaining a country at five World Cups.