Can Germany recover from their slow World Cup start to triumph?
The World Cup has thrown up some eyebrow-raising results thus far. And Germany’s 1-0 opening-game defeat to Mexico was amongst the most surprising.
However, while some were quick to write off Die Mannschaft, it’s far too early for any of that.
Even at 1-0 down on matchday two against Sweden, Joachim Low’s men stuck to their patient passing game and were eventually rewarded – with Toni Kroos netting a stunning 95th minute winner.
They even did it with 10 men, following Jerome Boateng’s red card. Such is this side’s resilience.
History also reflects the fact that Germany are slow starters in tournaments. And it rarely ends up doing them any harm!
Ahead of this tournament, the Germans had only won their first two group games in one of the previous six World Cups, dating back to 1994. Despite that, they’ve gone on to win the group every single time.
While a lot has been made about that loss to Mexico, the stats show Germany deserved something against a good Mexican side. Low’s side had 66% possession, nine shots on target (to four for El Tricolor) and eight of the game’s nine corners.
There’s no doubt the European giants are yet to hit full stride, but discussion of their early struggles have been exaggerated and premature.
Especially so when you look at the quality in their ranks. Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez each have over 30 goals in a Germany shirt, while Timo Werner has averaged a goal every two games for the national side.
It’s also no coincidence that Die Mannschaft recorded the joint-best defensive record during UEFA qualifying. They shipped just four goals in the 10 games, and picked up maximum points on the road to Russia.
But whether they finish first or second in Group F, they could have a fairly straightforward last 16 fixture. Pre-tournament favourites Brazil have been sloppy so far.
The other two contenders are Switzerland and Serbia. Germany have won four and drawn two of their last seven meetings with the Swiss. Meanwhile, Serbia haven’t made it past the last-16 since they were competing as Yugoslavia at Italia ’90.
Low’s charges are still serious contenders to retain their World Cup crown, with 7/1 for glory.
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