The Germany Olympic team began their hunt for Olympic gold with a draw. Head coach Horst Hrubesch’s side took on defending champions Mexico and came back from behind twice thanks to goals from Serge Gnabry and Matthias Ginter to finish on level terms.
“I can only describe it in my player’s words: It was a brilliant game,” said Hrubesch. “It was fun. I am proud of how the team played, how they came back, how they never gave up. You could see that we were a bit underprepared and weren’t very fluent. We have finally started though,” commented DFB sporting director Hansi Flick. “It’s fantastic how the team came back and got themselves level. We are proud.”
The Germany team needed a good ten minutes to get into the game against Mexico’s aggressive pressing style and Hirving Lozano fired a warning shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box after six minutes. Germans began to get more and more of the ball as the match continued and Max Meyer played the ball into the box after some good dribbling in the 15th minute but couldn’t find any of his team mates.
The following corner lead to another good chance but Niklas Süle couldn’t manage to get the ball inside the far post with his effort. The DFB team were controlling the tempo but the next big chance to take the lead fell to the Mexicans in the 27th minute. Lozano found himself one-on-one with Timo Horn but the FC Köln goalkeeper denied him with his feet.
Hrubesch was forced to make a change straight after, as captain Leon Goretzka was forced off the field with a shoulder injury. An exact assessment of the injury will follow on Friday. Serge Gnabry came on as his replacement. He made an immediate impact with a skillful run before playing the ball off to Davie Selke, who found Max Meyer but the Schalke man took too long to shoot and the chance was gone.
The Mexicans made a better start than Germany to the second half and took a deserved lead from a set-piece, when a corner from Hirving Lozano was headed to the far post by Oribe Peralta in the 52nd minute and Julian Brand’s attempted goal-line clearance found its way in via the crossbar.
Germany didn’t take long to reply though. Serge Gnabry latched onto a through ball from Niklas Süle four minutes later and the Arsenal man finished coolly for the equaliser. The DFB team’s celebrations didn’t last long though as a header from Marco Bueno came back off the crossbar and was stabbed in on the rebound by Rodolfo Pizarro from a few yards out.
Hrubesch’s team took a moment to get their bearings before going on the hunt for an equaliser. Gnabry forced Mexico’s goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera into a save at his near post in the 69th minute before the Central Americans countered shortly after and Horn was needed to keep his team in the game, saving from Lozano who was found unmarked in the box.
Then the equaliser came in the 79th minute. Julian Brandt’s corner was met by World Champion Matthias Ginter in the six-yard box and he headed home to make it 2-2. It was end-to-end stuff in the closing stages but the result didn’t change, meaning that the teams had to settle for a share of the points.
London 2012 bronze medalists South Korea announced their intention at the Olympics with an 8-0 win in their first match against Fiji. The teams went into half time with only one goal between them, but three goals in two minutes and seven in the second-half overall meant that South Korea took all three points in convincing fashion. They are now above Mexico and Germany at the top of Group C.