German newspaper Die Welt took a swipe at Mexico today in the name of World Cup soccer, publishing a somewhat inflammatory headline about what Germany would do to them on the pitch by alluding to US President Donald Trump’s plans for a barrier on the border.
By hinting at erecting a wall against Mexican soccer’s advance, perhaps the Die Welt editors forgot the not-so-small matter of the Berlin Wall and the pain it caused their own country. Maybe it was intended to fire up the German team.
The problem is, it may have fired up the wrong side from what the German editors intended.
In a titanic upset, Mexico secured a 1-0 victory over defending world champion Germany. Hirving Lozano’s first-half goal and some hard work on defense led to what may be the biggest win in Mexico soccer history and the first major upheaval of the 2018 World Cup. The Lozano goal prompted what Mexican authorities claimed was a minor earthquake in the Mexico City area, probably caused by the entire city jumping into the air and landing at the same time.
Germany was a heavy favorite going into the match. The four-time world champion was expected to be a solid contender for its fifth overall victory, but couldn’t find a path to the win against the stalwart Mexican defense.
Perhaps a Mexican media outlet will find a humorous way to reward German hubris. After all, when Germany pulled off a huge upset at the Winter Olympics by defeating Canada 4-3 in the men’s ice hockey semi-finals, the Germans couldn’t resist a bit of gloating. Ironically, they may wind up doing better in hockey than soccer this year.
Germany can still advance in the tournament, but will have to score big victories in its upcoming matches against Sweden and South Korea. If it fails, it joins recent World Cup champions Spain (2014), Italy (2010) and France (2002) that failed to escape the group stage of the World Cup.