After four long years of cooling their heels, the Germans found themselves in a tough spot after the opening match of their 19th World Cup. El Tricolor, under Juan Carlos Osorio, got the better of the current world champions and left Luzhniki as group toppers. It, obviously wasn’t the result Germany wanted since they are in it for the title defense.
Joachim Low, sounded clear while talking about what pulled Germany back from grabbing the three points. The boss also said that he’s convinced about the upcoming matches being different than the one against Mexico. In his words, the team needs to start playing to their strengths again:
We’re obviously disappointed to have lost. Losing the opener is unfamiliar territory for us. We need to accept the situation though — there’s still a long way to go. We didn’t play well in the first half; we gave the ball away a lot and our build-up play wasn’t at the level the team and I expect. Mexico sat deep after the break and they’re incredible quick on the counter and we had to do a lot of chasing back. We have to try and get more shots off, then we won’t run into as many problems. The mindset was right, but we didn’t get into the game properly and were then on the back foot. We need to start playing to our strengths again. I’m convinced that we will show a reaction.
Just like the boss, Toni Kroos wasn’t happy about the way things ended in Luzhniki. He admitted that the team had enough chances to score, but gave the ball away too often. The only thing the Real Madrid star is looking forward to, like most, is getting six points from the matches against Sweden and South Korea:
We couldn’t break Mexico down in the first half. We improved in the second 45; Mexico were a little more tired and gave us a bit more space. We had enough chances to score at least one goal, but when you give the ball away as much as we did, it’s hard to get a goal. We’re obviously under pressure now. We need to get six points from our remaining two games.
Mats Hummels evaluated his team’s performance by comparing it to the friendly against Saudi Arabia. He observed that Germany gave the ball away too easily in both the aforementioned matches and that was one of the major reasons why the Latin Americans found their way to victory easily:
It wasn’t easy today. Unfortunately, we played a lot like we did in the friendly against Saudi Arabia. We gave the ball away too easily and our structure wasn’t always right. Mexico deserved to win because we made it too easy for them, and they countered us ruthlessly. It’s good to get a shot across the bow, but now we have to go out and win the next two games. I fully expect us to show a different side against Sweden and South Korea.
Hummels notably indicated that he had addressed the problem of Germany’s lack of defensive coverage repeatedly to no avail:
When seven or eight players play offensively, then it’s obvious that the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. That’s what I often bring up internally. That apparently hasn’t come across yet. Our cover is not good; you have to admit it—often only Jerome and I were at the back. They ruthlessly countered us today.
Oliver Bierhoff stated that the defeat was frustrating and not good enough for a World Cup opener, especially when you’re trying to defend the title. The remaining two games are decisive, so the Germans should learn from their mistakes and try to fight back in the upcoming matches:
We didn’t do enough. We tried to turn things around after the break, but we weren’t incisive enough. It’s frustrating and wasn’t good enough for a World Cup opener. Now we know how hard it is as reigning champions and we need to deliver a response in the next game. We may have a difficult route ahead, and we have to accept that, but my thoughts for now are on the Sweden game. We need to stay fully focused and address the necessary issues so we can get the job done convincingly against Sweden.
- After being left out of the 2014 World Cup due to injury, Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus finally made his WC debut against Mexico—but off the bench.
- Bayern Munich right-back Joshua Kimmich also played his first ever World Cup match on Sunday at Luzhniki.
- The other three players who made their World Cup debut include Marvin Plattenhardt, Timo Werner and Julian Brandt.
"We didn’t play to our best at all. We obviously need to reflect on what happened and get back on track. We will learn our lessons and be better in the next game."— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 18, 2018
Joachim Löw discusses what went wrong in #GERMEX: https://t.co/f5G1BJuslP #WorldCup #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/rwLOw9Wu9i