World Cup 2018: 5 aspects of Germany’s play that need improvement
The 2018 FIFA World Cup got its first real shock as defending champions Die Mannschaft were deservedly beaten by a fired up Mexican side.
The loss was shocking in the context of it being Germany’s first loss of a World Cup opening match since 1982. However, keen watchers of the team would say that it was a loss that has been coming and they would be right.
In the last two friendlies before Russia 2018 began, the team struggled for cohesion and to create opportunities against Austria (a game the team deservedly lost 2-1) and a labored 2-1 win against Saudi Arabia.
Joachim Low would have put those losses down to the nature of those particular games as Germany has never been a team which gives 100% in friendly games. However, the lethargic display and shock caused by El Tri’s bright, high-pressing and constantly moving attack has raised a lot of alarm in the German media and among the team’s fans
The team will have to prepare well for what has now become a make-or-break tie against the very resilient Blagult of Sweden.
Here are five issues that the game against Mexico highlighted and which need to be addressed if Germany is to do anything meaningful at Russia 2018:
#5 Drop Sami Khedira
It is difficult to put a positive spin on Sami Khedira’s performance against Mexico as he was abysmal and added zero quality to the German team.
Mexican coach Carlos Osorio had started with a very attacking line up with captain Andreas Guadardo (a winger by trade) and Helenio Herrera in central midfield. With the trio of Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Carlos Vela and Miguel Layun playing behind striker Javier Hernandez, it became obvious that the Mexicans intended to take the game to its more illustrious opponents.
Khedira displayed a shocking lack of discipline and positional awareness by constantly leaving the central midfield area to roam around looking for the ball. This left Toni Kroos all alone in midfield and meant the Mexican runners had opportunities to run at Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.
With both teams not playing a recognized defensive midfielder, Guadardo held his position for El Tri giving the team a solid platform to start attacks from.
This has been a recurring complaint about Khedira’s displays for the team since Bastien Schweinsteiger retired. Coach Low may have to call upon Leon Goretzka or the squad’s only recognized defensive midfielder; Sebastian Rudy so as to give the team balance and positional awareness in central midfield.