Germany embarrassed by passionate Mexico fans on historic World Cup night | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.06.2018
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Germany embarrassed by passionate Mexico fans on historic World Cup night

No one expected Germany to stumble at the first hurdle of their World Cup title defense, but they did — and deservedly so. And it wasn’t just Mexico's players who excelled, either.

The list of reasons for Germany's defeat to Mexico in Moscow on Sunday was long. Poor positional play, a passive midfield, and an unimaginative use of possession left Germany there for the taking.

Mexico took their chance, but there was more to this team than a match plan reportedly months in the making. A deafening display from Mexico fans in the Luzhniki Stadium played its part in contributing to one of Germany's worst performances in ages.

What started in the center of Moscow as a field of green grew in sound and stature until wave after wave of goose bump-inducing support drowned the world champions. Every time Joachim Löw's men tried to use the ball in their usual, tidy fashion, they were met with a chorus of whistles. Every time Germany's fans dared to cheer, they were drowned out by an ocean of raucous green.

By the time Hirving Lozano tucked inside Germany's defense to score, pockets of bouncing green dotted around the stadium burst into joy. Mexico's fans delivered a symphony of football  steadfast belief, angst and then unabated joy as the defending champions felt what it was to be the hunted team.

Sea of green                                                                                                 

Germany's fans were largely silent once they realized their team looked spectacularly short of the required quality. Many left the stadium somewhat dazed, disbelieving that this so-called tournament team had dragged their poor form into the World Cup and sank under the pressure of a sea of green.

Comparisons with Mexico's ringing set of supporters would be unfair though, particular given that only since 2006 have Germany fans felt more comfortable in showing their team colors. Nevertheless, Germany's traveling fans weren't there right when their team needed them the most.

Even a Mexican-sized support base wouldn't have helped Germany overcome their issues in Moscow, though. This was a stale performance from Löw's side, the kind that sparked Germany's football revolution in the first place.

Even Löw himself was guilty of seemingly poor in-game management. Marco Reus came to the fray too late, and the ineffective midfield wasn't really ever dealt with. To suggest Leroy Sane would have made a difference is also remiss. Germany were blunt everywhere, but no more so than at their base.

Short on luck and ability

The shine has suddenly gone from this group, and perhaps most worryingly frustration is creeping in. After the game, Mats Hummels told ZDF: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. That's what I often talk about internally, to no affect. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome [Boateng] and I at the back."

Top-level performances have been few and far between over the last two tournaments, with the historic win over Brazil perhaps hiding some fortune displays. Against Mexico, Germany were short on luck and ability.

As questions arise about Germany, attention shouldn't be turned away from Mexico. "El Tri" won't win it all, but they won the day. As fans streamed out of the Luzhniki, some Mexican supporters were crying, others were pointing to the heavens in thanks, most were singing proudly.

One Germany fan found himself caught in the middle of a sea of joyous green, and simply turned to one Mexico fan and said: "Well done, you deserved to beat us today." And no one could disagree.

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