Jersey swap: Hirving “Chucky” Lozano
What a debut World Cup game for the 22 year old jewel of the Mexican National Team! Lozano played lightning, and he and Chicharito devoured Germany’s defense throughout the game. His spectacular go-ahead goal proved to be the game-winner.
Tip o’ the Cap: Jerome Boateng
It was a lousy defensive day for Germany, but the heart of the problem lies rather with the team’s disjointed positioning in the midfield, which permitted Mexico to make run after run at Germany’s exposed center-backs. Boateng had the better day by far and saved Germany from going down a goal in the very first minute of the game with a spectacular sliding block.
Golf Clap: Julian Draxler
He probably should not have started in place of Marco Reus—a decision that head coach Jogi Löw must reevaluate before Germany’s next match, but Draxler gave a solid effort in front of weak midfield performance. Draxler dribbled, served key passes (that were squandered), and took five shots to get things going. Unfortunately, all that effort went nowhere.
Standing Ovation: Manuel Neuer
He’s back. Neuer played as if he had not missed a day, let alone an entire year. Neuer showed his inimitable presence outside the penalty area several times today as he was called upon to sweep away dangerous attacks forming just outside. Neuer had no chance against Lozano’s perfect shot, but Neuer saved several other chances and defused threatening situations to kept Germany in the game. The confidence that the captain brings his team adds to the value of his play on the field. His team looks like they are going to need it.
Meister of the Match: Toni Kroos
Toni Kroos had all he could do to deal with Mexico’s press, and yet he still proved to be Germany’s best player. Kroos, the epitome of cool— “What’s cooler than cool? TONI KROOS!”—had the third most touches on Germany’s team (98, behind Kimmich and Boateng) yet still had the composure to come away from the game with both the most passes (85) and 93% accuracy, despite the fact that Mexico targeted him especially in order to disrupt Germany’s buildup. The team today was bad, but it’s safe to say that Toni Kroos is not the problem. Kroos also nearly equalized for Germany, provoking Mexico’s Ochoa to deflect the ball off the crossbar with a two-handed save.