Germany will begin their title defense against Mexico on Sunday.
Much has changed since Germany’s last FIFA World Cup™ appearance. A raft of experienced players retired from the international fold for the four-time champions and the youngster who scored that priceless Maracana winner – Mario Gotze – did not make the final 23 for Russia.
Joachim Low’s men go into the encounter as strong favorites given their dominance over Mexico in the past. The two nations have met 11 times since December 1968, with the Germans winning a whopping six to Mexico’s just one, while the other four matches ended in draws.
It is also worth noting that the Mexicans haven’t beaten Germany in over three decades, with their last and only win over the world champions coming in June 1985. Germany have scored a combined 10 goals against Mexico in the two teams’ last three matches.
Low’s team has been boosted by the return to fitness of Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, who missed Germany’s final warm-up match against Saudi Arabia due to injury.
Thomas Muller’s presence will be crucial for the Germans going into this clash. The Bayern Munich man boasts 10 goals in his two previous tournaments for Die Mannschaft.
Mexico’s preparations for the global showpiece were hampered by injuries as Nestor Araujo had to be left out of the squad due to a knee injury. Diego Reyes withdrew from the squad on Wednesday with a hamstring injury, and he was subsequently replaced by Erick Gutierrez.
Coach Juan Carlos Osorio will pin his hopes on the 13 players who have amassed over 50 international caps for Mexico.
Javier Hernandez is their all-time top goalscorer with 49 strikes to his name, and Germany will need a better game plan to stop him from finding the back of the net.
Mexico has not lost their opening match at a global showpiece since their 1-0 loss to Norway in 1994. They have won four and drawn just one since then.
Did you know…?
3.5 – Germany have averaged 3.5 goals per match in their opening games of the World Cup since they last lost an opener – 36 years ago against Algeria. It took Mexico 56 years to win a World Cup opener – their victory coming at the ninth attempt on home soil at Mexico 1986.
Manuel Neuer; Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Jonas Hector; Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos; Thomas Müller, Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler; Timo Werner
Guillermo Ochoa; Carlos Salcedo, Hugo Ayala, Hector Moreno, Miguel Layun; Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado; Carlos Vela; Jesus Corona, Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano