Germany 0 Mexico 1
Brazil 1 Switzerland 1
The Mexicans, roared on by passionate supporters in a crowd of 78,000 in Moscow, outplayed Germany and should have won by more than one goal.
When Jogi Low didn’t pick Leroy Sane, I looked at his squad and saw far too many old men. Hummels and Khedira looked geriatric in a side that only had one idea: get raiding right back Kimmich to cross the ball from the right flank. Oh dear!
Collectively, Mexico were much brighter and more fearless. When centreback Hummels went walkabout, making a silly lunge in the centre circle, the Mexicans broke incisively and played in striker Irving Lozano, who fired his right foot shot low inside Manuel Neuer’s near past. A very fine goal.
My reaction: “They’ll equalise within ten minutes!”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Mexicans were leaving three strikers up the field, a very brave thing to do in a match as crucial as this.
Kroos hit a good free-kick that was always hitting the crossbar, even before the keeper got a touch.
Ozil was jogging around as if Germany were 4-0 up and I thought Draxler would do a lot more than he did.
Low took off Khedira (31) and brought on Marco Reus, now 28, but nothing worked.
Mexican coach Juan Carlos Osorio has made his philosophy public. He had told his team to play for the love of winning and not with the fear of losing.
The second big game of the day featured Switzerland, ranked No.6 in the world, against eleven Brazilians who live and play in Europe.
Mainly, this is Neymar’s Brazil – and he’s the problem.
Marcelo, 25, is captain and he’s the right guy for the job because he produces in big games. Here Marcelo overlapped Neymar, got the ball from him and hits a decent cross and the Swiss defender sent a headed clearance bouncing towards Philippe Coutinho just outside the box on the left side.
The former Liverpool star took one touch and scored a Coutinho goal.
His right-foot shot flew up and across the penalty area and swerved and went in off the far post.
Brazil 1 Switzerland 0 in 20 minutes.
The main feature of the first half, apart from that brilliant goal by Coutinho, was that super-energetic ball-winner Behrami (Udinese) hounded Neymar and tired him out.
Having come back from a broken foot in February, Neymar doesn’t have the match fitness to play 90 minutes or anywhere near it. And his superstar status inhibits the other attacking players.
But Brazil led 1-0 at half-time.
Then the energetic Swiss won a corner on the right and Shakiri took it left-footed and fired the ball fast and flat into the six-yard box and Zuber pushed Miranda in the back and headed in. No foul given.
So it was 1-1 after 50 minutes.
There were no more goals, so Mexico got their second result of the day
Collectively, Brazil don’t have the verve or imagination of the Mexicans. Or the defensive solidity.
Ronaldo 3 Spain 3 was a very exciting game between two good teams but both got a point for their efforts.
By contrast, Mexico got three points for beating Germany and they’ll be flying as they go into their second game against South Korea on Saturday. That is at 4pm and Germany v Sweden is at 7pm.
Tunisia v England?
I’ll post my thoughts here at 4pm or maybe sooner.