#WorldCupAtHome: Mexico create history against Germany
18 Apr 2020
- #WorldCupAtHome features Germany-Mexico from Russia 2018
- Enjoy more historic and exciting World Cup games
- We look back on the memorable opening fixture from Group F
Defending champions Germany were brought crashing down to earth by Mexico in the opening game of Group F at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. El Tri executed a well-drilled tactical strategy to secure three very encouraging points courtesy of a solitary first-half strike by Hirving Lozano.
Germany 0-1 Mexico
17 June 2018 Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Goalscorers: Hirving Lozano (MEX) 35'
- Germany: Manuel Neuer, Marvin Plattenhardt (Mario Gomez 79'), Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Joshua Kimmich, Sami Khedira (Marco Reus 60'), Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Timo Werner (Julian Brandt 86').
- Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Hugo Ayala, Carlos Salcedo, Hector Moreno, Hector Herrera, Miguel Layun, Andres Guardado (Rafael Marquez 74'), Jesus Gallardo, Carlos Vela (Edson Alvarez 58'), Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano (Raul Jimenez 66').
Germany arrived at the tournament primed to retain the title won at Brazil 2014. Bolstered by new recruits like Timo Werner and Joshua Kimmich, Joachim Low’s squad looked to have the ideal blend of youth and experience.
For his part, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was determined to show his side had learned from their 4-1 defeat to Die Mannschaft in the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, applying those valuable lessons to try and secure a result that could give real impetus to their World Cup aspirations.
Mexico took to field with a well-defined plan: break up their opponent’s passing moves and spells of possession, then hit them on the break.
Marshalled in midfield by experienced duo Hector Herrera and Andres Guardado, El Tri were able to restrict German play and prevent too many balls reaching their lethal finisher Thomas Muller.
With 35 minutes on the clock, Mexico finally got their big chance. Recovering possession in their own half, a slick ball was threaded to Javier Hernandez in midfield. After a deft one-two, 'Chicharito' then drove forward and picked out Hirving Lozano arriving from the left. The then PSV man calmly took a touch in the area before cutting inside to fire low past Neuer for the only goal of the game.
Germany refused to give up, however, displaying typical mental fortitude to stick to their game plan.
Throughout the second half, they did everything possible to score, drawing superlative saves on more than one occasion from Guillermo Ochoa. However, luck was not on their side as Mexico held on to record their maiden victory over Germany at a World Cup.
One of the keys to Mexico’s historic triumph was midfielder Hector Herrera, who appeared indefatigable in working box to box. His contribution was notable in all areas. Defensively, he provided a formidable barrier in midfield, while going forward, he moved the ball at the right pace to release the strikers and take advantage of the few opportunities they had to catch the German defence out of position.
What they said
"It gave me enormous joy. I'd be lying if I said otherwise, and I’d like to share this moment with my parents in Colombia, and my family. As people have said, it’s the most resounding victory in my sporting career but hopefully not the last."
Juan Carlos Osorio, Mexico coach
"Mexico have the ability to quickly transition between plays and are very fast and agile in attack. They allow their opponents to have more of the ball, but they recover possession well and launch lightning counterattacks. If you surrender possession to them in midfield, everything gets complicated."
Joachim Low, Germany coach
What happened next
The climax to Group F at Russia 2018 also had its share of drama, with Mexico progressing in second place after beating Korea Republic and then losing 3-0 to group winners Sweden in their last game. In the Round of 16, El Tri succumbed to Brazil (2-0).
Germany, for their part, were eliminated at the group stage after picking up just three points, the result of their solitary last-gasp victory over Sweden.