Hirving Lozano scored in the first half as Mexico put on a brave defensive display to humble defending champions Germany 1-0 in their opening match of the 2018 World Cup played on Sunday evening in Russia.
The Germans had a whopping 26 shots at goal in a show that the Mexicans displayed brilliant piece of defending. Mexico were quick out of the blocks and had the first chance of the game. In the first minute, Lozano got on the end of a lovely passing move and saw his goal-bound shot blocked away by centre back Jerome Boateng.
A minute later, Timo Werner fired his shot wide to the right post after a through ball played by Joshua Kimmich. In the sixth minute, Mexico half cleared the ball and it fell to German defender Matt Hummels. He fired a tame left-footed shot straight at Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
In the ninth minute, Herrera received the ball from 25 yards out and rifled a hard shot straight at Manuel Neuer. The Mexicans pressed further and had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 12th minute. Miguel Layun’s free kick from the right flank was headed downwards by Hector Moreno only for Neuer to save.
Carlos Salcedo almost turned the ball into his own net in the 15th minute after a devilish cross by Kimmich from the right wing. Germany started setting in and saw Toni Kroos fire straight at Ochoa from outside the area. The Mexicans, who threatened on the counter finally got their goal.
In the 35th minute, Mexico got on the break and Javier Hernandez set up Lozano who was free on the left flank. Lozano cut in past Mesut Ozil before firing past the hapless Nueur. The Germans had a chance to equalise two minutes later. Kroos’ angled free kick was pushed on to the bar by the outstretched Ochoa to close out the first half.
Same script in the second half
In the second half, Germany picked off from where they left and a good opportunity to take the lead. In the 64th minute, Boateng crossed from the right wing for Kimmich to produce an acrobatic kick that went agonisingly close.
Five minutes later, Mexico were denied a clear penalty when Hummels clattered Hernandez from behind when the striker was through on goal but the referee was not interested.
Mexico started showing signs of fatigue and allowed Germany to dictate play. This almost cost them in the 75th minute when Kimmich squared the ball to Kroos whose angled shot fizzed wide to Ochoa’s left post.
Substitute Mario Gomez summarised Germany’s frustration on the day when he mistimed his jump to head off target from point blank range. Germany will now have to win their two remaining matches if they are to top the group.
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”