The two sides opened the half looking for how they were looking to create the chances. And in the first couple minutes, El Tri elected to defer possession to Germany and let Die Mannschaft try to break them down in possession.
At first, the strategy did not work as several players were able to find shots on Guillermo Ochoa. But these shots were easy for the Standard Liege-based arquero to catch.
But then, the indecisiveness and lack of maliciousness in their approach started to play out of the hands of the Germany attack and into the hands of El Tri, who took advantage of the side’s lack of inventiveness and unpredictability.
And so, El Tri were able to intercept the German buildups and generate chances off the counter. First came warning shots by Hector Herrera, Carlos Vela, Miguel Layun, and ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez which were either caught by Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, missed the target, or taken away by a successful recovery by a German defender.
But in the 35th minute, off of a counter that started off an interception near midfield, Hirving Lozano opened the scoring with a left-footed rising finish that evaded the grasp of Manuel Neuer. ‘Chicharito’ supplied the pass to ‘El Chucky’ who cut from his wing to get in a better finishing angle to make his finish more successful.
Soon after the goal, El Tri returned to a mostly defensive posture and forced Die Mannschaft to try to break them down close to El Tri‘s own area. And so, despite being behind, Die Mannschaft had to be patient with their possession and generated few real chances on Guillermo Ochoa’s goal.
Joshua Kimmich had a chance on frame around the 65th minute on an overhead kick inside the area, while Marco Reus, who had come into the match as a second half substitute, had arguably the best chance to equalize on a move through the left side of Mexico’s defensive coverage. But Reus could only manage to fire his volleyed attempt over the bar.
Three minutes from the end of the 90, Julian Brandt, another second half substitute who seemed to cause El Tri‘s defensive posture some problems, came close to equalizing, ringing his shot off Guillermo Ochoa’s near post.
In the end, despite getting out-passed and out-shot by more than 2:1, El Tri held on for its second-ever victory against Die Mannschaft in any composition and put itself in a good position to potentially win its group. Whether El Tri holds onto its advantage or not will depend on the result of the match between Sweden and South Korea from Nizhny Novgorod on Monday, June 18.
El Tri will look to build on that advantage when it takes on South Korea in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday, June 23, where their approach to the match against the Daeguk Warriors might significantly differ from the approach they took today. Die Mannschaft, who appeared to lose striker Timo Werner to a knock he picked up in the second half, will look to salvage their hopes of advancing from Group F when they take on Sweden the same day.