Mexico defence holds off German fightback

Mexico followed in the grand World Cup tradition of Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Holland four years ago by pulling off a deserved if stunning victory over the reigning champions by virtue of  Hirving Lozano’s superb first-half goal on the counter-attack.

Javier Hernandez began the breakaway after an attack by a curiously heavy-legged German team was easily thwarted by spinning Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels on halfway. He bullocked forward then found Lozano on the left with a threaded pass and the PSV winger beat Mesut Ozil and thundered in an unstoppable right-foot rising shot past Manuel Neuer.

Germany laid siege to the Mexico goal for most of the second-half but the disappointing Timo Werner could make no headway while both Joshua Kimmich and Julian Draxler came close. But the Mexican defence ultimately withstood the remorseless pressure they invited on to themselves by sitting too deep – though hearts were in mouths when Julian Brandt’s late shot shaved the outside of the left post.

No team has gone on to win the World Cup after losing their opening game apart from Spain in 2010 and Germany, despite throwing Neuer forward for a late corner, will now have to emulate them.

Both sides looked absolutely shattered at the final whistle. Mexico had been defending bravely, and will enjoy this famous win.


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