How Mexico managed to stun Germany in its World Cup opener

Explaining the biggest shocker of this edition of the World Cup: Germany's 1-0 loss to Mexico.

Mexico's Edson Alvarez celebrates after his team won the group F match against Germany in the Luzhniki Stadium on June 17, 2018.   -  AP

Germany's 1-0 loss to Mexico has been the biggest shock of this year's World Cup yet.

Germany boasting a stronger squad and a manager who has won the last edition of both the World Cup and Confederations Cup made certain tactical errors which ultimately paved way for a street smart and pacy Mexican side to hurt on the counter.

Both teams played a 4-2-3-1 formation but were very different in their playing style. Germany played with its wing backs high up the pitch to create overloads in the final third. They were instructed to cross the ball into the box which was Löw's first mistake as they had Timo Werner up front.

Timo Werner is a diminutive, pacy striker who likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender and prefers to run on to flat through balls that split defensive lines.

Mesut Özil, adept at playing such through balls, did not do so and thereby failed to add a cutting edge to the German attack. Also, crossing the ball into the box meant a technically gifted player like Julian Draxler- who is great with the ball at his feet but not so much in heading situations, was under utilised.

Toni Kroos has become Germany's deep lying playmaker who sprays the ball across the pitch and dictates the tempo. He was marked out of the game by Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez thereby disrupting Germany's transitions.

After they fell behind, Löw played a deep pivot of Kroos and Özil and opted against playing a ball winning midfielder like Sebastian Rudy or Sami Khedira. This left the centre halves especially Jerome Boeteng exposed and made it easier for Mexico to hit Germany on the counter.

Another odd thing about the Germans was the speed at which they ditched their game plan of incisive passing to much more direct but redundant style of play after they fell behind.

Mexico exploited these mistakes perfectly. The German wing backs pushed high which left space behind which the pacy wingers Hirving Lozano and Miguel Layun exploited to their advantage with one of such situations leading to the goal.

Hector Herrera was a constant presence in the midfield winning lots of tackles and interceptions whereas Andrés Guardado sat deeper, protecting the defence and distributed the ball to the flanks to launch quick counterattacks.

Left full back Gallardo, left centre half Hector Moreno, Guardado and Lozano formed a neat passing diamond which constantly worked the ball in between themselves to take full advantage of Joshua Kimmich's high position up the pitch to create chance after chance.

Lozano and Herrera had a great game but overall Mexico was tactically excellent. The right amount of preparation by coach Juan Carlos Osorio, a compact and smart team shape aided by rare tactical mistakes by Joachim Löw meant although Mexico's win was surprising, it was not at all undeserving.