mexico vs Germany the first big surprise world cup 2018
MOSCOW — Hirving Lozano’s first-half goal and sturdy second-half defense gave Mexico a 1-0 victory over Germany on Sunday, providing the first major surprise of the 2018 World Cup. It was hard to recall a bigger result for Mexico, which has hosted the World Cup twice but has never advanced past the quarterfinals.
Germany, the defending World Cup champion, has won the tournament four times, and was expected to seriously challenge for a fifth crown in Russia. But the Germans seemed flummoxed by the Mexicans’ speed and directness in the first half, and they couldn’t find a reply to Lozano’s goal.
The largely pro-Mexican crowd willed their team to victory in the final 20 minutes, when they gave up the initiative but never surrendered.
Germany seemed out of sorts for most of the game, put off by Mexico’s initiative, its willingness to attack in numbers and, perhaps most important, by its speed.
Lozano’s goal was the product of one such burst in the 35th minute. Led wide, and forward, by a pass from striker Javier Hernandez, Lozano turned Germany right back Joshua Kimmich inside out as he cut into the penalty area and pulled a right-footed shot inside goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s right post.
Germany will have work to do now, with games against Sweden and South Korea to come. But it has given up the wheel in the group to Mexico, which arrived in Russia with its most talented, most experienced, most highly regarded team in years. It surely now feels anything must be possible.