Germany could not start off worse defending their crown at the 2018 World Cup as they took on Group F opponent’s Mexico. There aren’t a whole lot of positives for Germany to take away from this match. They’ll need to improve overall. While Mexico were the clear underdogs going into the match, they are still a quality side and should be able to make it out of Group F should they have performances like this consistently.
Toni Kroos, who didn’t have a great match — like most of the Germans today — did have one of the best scoring chances for Germany. He took a shot from far out and hit the crossbar. He also had the most shots of any German player in the match.
Germany dominated every stat, taking twice as many shots as Mexico and holding 67% of possession. With all the attempted shots, though, they weren’t able to convert anything and missed multiple chances — sloppy play all around. The German defense, which is ranked among the world’s best, was all over the place tonight. They gave up several beautiful chances to Mexico who couldn’t convert. Mexico did convert once, on one of the many counterattacks. Mexico’s newest star Hirving Lozano made his presence felt in Moscow.
The stars for Germany were almost complete nonfactors. Müller, Özil, Werner, and Draxler were non-factors in this match. Draxler attempted several shots but couldn’t get anything close to the back of the net. Germany looked much better when Julian Brandt came on as a substitute. Khedira looked unimpressive as Kroos’ midfield partner, and they may need a Casemiro-type in-between the two of them. Hummels was pressing higher up the pitch, which led to several dangerous counterattacks for Mexico, and Jerome Boateng just couldn’t keep up with their quick pace.
This was certainly not one of Kroos’s finer matches, though he did look like the highest offensive threat for Germany at times. I don’t think he was terrible, but he certainly didn’t look like the dominant midfielder we’re use to seeing when playing alongside Modric. Bottom line for Germany — their stars need to show up if they want to win otherwise it’s not looking ideal for a repeat. The German defense also has to be better structured. With Hummels pressing, it didn’t give him enough time to run back, and Boateng was much too slow to keep up with the Mexican attack.
This is easily one of Germany’s worst performances in a long time. In the entire 2014 World Cup, they trailed for only eight minutes the entire tournament; they trailed for 55 minutes in their first match of the 2018 World Cup. Jogi Löw has some work to do with the team before their match with Sweden next Saturday.