Defending champion Germany falls to Mexico in World Cup opener



Hirving Lozano scored the only goal after 35 minutes in Moscow as Germany lost their opening game at a World Cup for the first time in 36 years.

Mexico have enjoyed a much better start than Germany. Defending champions of World Cups haven't had a good time defending their title in the recent past, and Germany's defeat will put them under huge pressure to turn things around in little time.

Mexico had only beaten Germany once in 11 previous meetings - a 1985 friendly - but produced a superb performance in Moscow.

Fans in Mexico use the chant to insult opposing goalkeepers as they take a goal kick. The Mexicans were pitted to face the Germans in their opening Group "E" game.

Toni Kroos recognized that Germany, the ultimate tournament team, were now facing an unusual situation.

That defeat in Sochi was one that hurt their ego. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio and the players have stated they are up to the challenge and are not afraid. They were desperate to prove to the footballing world that they are one of the top teams in the world. A Colombian who is bilingual and lived in the United States, Osorio had not been forgiven for a 7-0 loss to Chile in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Copa America.

Germany's Mesut Ozil, tracking back on defense, caught Lozano from behind so the Mexican pulled the ball back with his left foot, spun around Ozil and put a hard-footed right-footed shot in at the near post. They always had men back. More movement, decisiveness and precision are badly needed, as well.

And it's a victory that may have changed the course of the tournament for both teams. Either Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos, who were both nominally central midfielders but provided nearly no protection for the defence, were simply not up the task or not committed enough to helping out, something the Bayern defender seemed to imply. Against a razor-sharp El Tri, Germany's creative department spent more time remonstrating with the referee than focusing on denying their opponents' quick transitions. Lozano, making his World Cup debut after a breakout season for PSV, looks like a star. With Kimmich up ahead, it was Ozil who found himself tasked to stop Lozano.

"We won't fall apart", said Joachim Low after presiding over his first-ever opening defeat at a big competition.

Germany nearly responded immediately, as Kimmich won a free-kick at the top of the box that Kroos curled on target only to see Ochoa tip it onto the bar.

On the hour mark, Loew sent Marco Reus on for his major tournament appearance with Germany.

The four-time world champions went close to hitting back just five minutes later. Otherwise, the Mexican were throwing their bodies at every German attempt. The equaliser never came.

"You had the feeling that the ball just wouldn't go in anyhow", Loew said. If it fails, it joins recent World Cup champions Spain (2014), Italy (2010) and France (2002) that failed to escape the group stage of the World Cup. Germany and Loew have work to do to avoid that fate.

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