By Nick Butler |
Mexico produced an excellent all-around display to stun defending champion Germany at the FIFA World Cup as Brazil was also held to a draw by Switzerland.
A 1-0 defeat at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was the worst possible start for the Germans in their attempt to become the first winners of two successive World Cups since Brazil in 1962.
Mexico started the better and combined well-organized defense with devastating speed on the counter-attack.
Javier Hernandez broke the German defense wide open with a pass that enabled Hirving Lozano to cut inside and fire home after 35 minutes.
Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa then brilliantly tipped a Toni Kroos free-kick onto the bar and that was the closest the European side came to drawing level.
Germany launched wave after wave of attacks but never really looked like scoring.
“We showed we have a bright future and I am very satisfied with what we did,” said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
“We played with bravery when it was needed and also defended with all of our hearts.”
Germany will still hope to progress in a group also containing Sweden and South Korea, but second place could mean a tantalizing last-16 tie with Group E favorites, Brazil.
The Brazilians, however, could only draw 1-1 with Switzerland despite a Philippe Coutinho wonder goal at the Rostov Arena.
Coutinho defied the laws of physics to bend the ball into the top corner from the left side of the penalty area.
Brazil were good for the lead and, at one stage, looked as if they would run riot.
But Switzerland stood firm and hung on until half-time.
They were soon level thereafter as Steven Zuber capitalzed on some poor defending to head home from a corner kick.
Neymar missed a point blank header and substitute Roberto Firmino also saw a header beaten away as Brazil proved unable to make the decisive breakthrough.
Serbia had a moment of brilliance from captain Aleksandar Kolarov to thank for a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica elsewhere in Group E at the Cosmos Arena in Samara.
Defender Kolarov curled the ball home from 25 yards after brilliantly bending the ball around the Costa Rica defence.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas was left clutching thin air in the game’s one moment of class.
Serbia was the better side, but midfielder Nemanja Matic was involved in an ugly confrontation with a Costa Rica coach in injury time as the Manchester United player tried to get the ball back when it went out of play.
Sweden will play South Korea tomorrow at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in the second match in Group F.
Two matches are also scheduled in Group G.
Belgium will play Panama at Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium before Tunisia and 1966 World Cup winners England meet at the Volgograd Arena.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.