Die Mannschaft have begun their title defence with a loss. The four-time World Cup winners were defeated 1-0 by Mexico in Moscow, with Hirving Lozano’s effort in the 35th minute separating the two sides.
For Germany, the defeat followed three successive victories against “El Tri” at the World Cup, having previously beaten Mexico in 1978 (6-0), 1986 (4-1) and 1998 (2-1).
"We’re obviously disappointed that we lsot the game," said head coach Joachim Löw after the match, adding: "It’s unfamiliar territory for us to lose the first game. We need to take that in our stride, there’s still a long way to go."
Germany have never lost an opening World Cup match with Jorgi Löw on the bench until now. In 2006, when he was Jürgen Klinsmann’s assistant, the team won 4-2 against Costa Rica, before thumping Australia 4-0 in 2010 and then Portugal 4-0 in 2014. Indeed, the last time Die Mannschaft lost on the opening day was 36 years ago when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Algeria. Their next opponent will be Sweden on 27th June (16:00 CEST).
“We had no solution to their play in the first half. They set up cleverly and gave us space where it suited them," Toni Kroos told reporters at full time. “In the second half we improved, Mexico got tired, there was more space. But we couldn’t score. We had enough chances for at least one. Now we’re under pressure, no doubt. We have to get six points."
Löw was forced to change his starting XI shortly before the match. Marvin Plattenhardt came in for the sick Jonas Hector. Löw went for Özil over Reus and captain Manuel Neuer stood behind a back line of Hummels, Boateng and Kimmich along with Plattenhardt. In defensive midfield, Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos started, whilst Draxler, Müller, Werner and Özil played higher up the pitch.
In front of 78,011 spectators at the Olympic stadium in Moscow, both teams went on the attack. In the second minute, Boateng denied Lozano, whilst Werner, Hummels and Kroos all came close for Germany but were denied by Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa. In the 16th minute, Carlos Salcedo nearly prodded a Kimmich cross into his own net, but the ball narrowly missed.
Mexico were dangerous on the counter. “El Tri” repeatedly exploited the holes in the German defence. Neuer had to keep out Hector Herrera (10’), Hector Moreno (14’) and deny Miguel Layun three times (29’, 34’, 35’). In the 35th minute, the German keeper was powerless against Lozano, who latched onto a Javier Hernandez ball on the counter and slid the ball into the bottom right corner.
Germany remained ineffectual in attack for the rest of the first half. Toni Kroos set the standard with a brilliant free kick that Ochoa managed to parry onto the bar (39’).
After the break, die Mannschaft visibly tried to impose some composure and control over the game. Mexico weren’t pressing as high as they were in the first 45. Plattenhardt fired off the first warning shot in the 48th minute and a Draxler shot was deflected wide shortly after. Mexico kept counter attacking and almost made it 2-0 after 57 minutes, but couldn’t convert the chance.
Löw reacted by bringing Marco Reus on for Khedira in the 60th minute – a statement of attacking intent which improved the team’s movement of the ball. Mexico stood compact and gave away little space, however. Kimmich came close to a spectacular leveler, but his overhead kicked landed on the roof of the net. Moments later Werner fired just off target.
More chances followed from Reus and Kroos, before Löw threw caution to the wind by bringing on Mario Gomez for Plattenhardt for the final ten minutes. The final throw of the dice saw Julian Brandt come on for Werner, but it wasn’t enough to rescue a point.